Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics

Boulder City, CO, United States

Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics

Boulder City, CO, United States
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Andrews D.J.,Swedish Institute of Space Physics | Andersson L.,Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics | Delory G.T.,University of California at Berkeley | Ergun R.E.,Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics | And 6 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2015

We report on initial observations made by the Langmuir Probe and Waves relaxation soundingexperiment on board the NASA Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission. These measurements yield the ionospheric thermal plasma density, and we use these data here for an initial survey of its variability. Studying orbit-to-orbit variations, we show that the relative variability of the ionospheric plasma density is lowest at low altitudes near the photochemical peak, steadily increases toward higher altitudes and sharply increases as the spacecraft crosses the terminator and moves into the nightside. Finally, despite the small volume of data currently available, we show that a clear signature of the influence of crustal magnetic fields on the thermal plasma density fluctuations is visible. Such results are consistent with previously reported remote measurements made at higher altitudes, but crucially, here we sample a new span of altitudes between ∼130 and ∼300 km using in situ techniques. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


Goodrich K.A.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Goodrich K.A.,Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics | Ergun R.E.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Ergun R.E.,Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2015

Radio-frequency short burst emissions (10-40 MHz), known as Jovian S-bursts, have been observed from the Jovian aurora for over fifty years. These emissions, associated with Io's motion, have a rapidly declining frequency and an exceptionally narrow bandwidth. While it is widely believed that S-bursts are generated by the electron cyclotron maser instability, the mechanism responsible for the rapidly declining frequency and narrow bandwidth currently is not well established. We explore a hypothesis that electron phase space holes radiate or stimulate radiation in the Jovian aurora plasma environment as a possible source of S-burst emissions. Electron phase-space holes (EHs) are ubiquitous in an auroral environment and travel at the implied speeds (∼20,000 km s-1) of the structures creating the Jovian S-bursts. Furthermore, EHs have the proper physical size to create the observed bandwidth, have sufficient energy content, and can create an environment whereby X mode emissions can be excited. If verified, these findings imply that EHs may be an important source of radiation from strongly magnetized or relativistic astrophysical plasmas. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

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