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Naval Academy, Washington, United States

Schneider N.M.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Deighan J.I.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Stewart A.I.F.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Mcclintock W.E.,University of Colorado at Boulder | And 13 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters

We report the detection of intense emission from magnesium and iron in Mars' atmosphere caused by a meteor shower following Comet Siding Spring's close encounter with Mars. The observations were made with the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph, a remote sensing instrument on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN spacecraft orbiting Mars. Ionized magnesium caused the brightest emission from the planet's atmosphere for many hours, resulting from resonant scattering of solar ultraviolet light. Modeling suggests a substantial fluence of low-density dust particles 1-100μm in size, with the large amount and small size contrary to predictions. The event created a temporary planet-wide ionospheric layer below Mars' main dayside ionosphere. The dramatic meteor shower response at Mars is starkly different from the case at Earth, where a steady state metal layer is always observable but perturbations caused by even the strongest meteor showers are challenging to detect. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

Owens M.J.,University of Reading | Cliver E.,Air Force Research Lab | Beer J.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Barnard L.,University of Reading | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics

This is Part 2 of a study of the near-Earth heliospheric magnetic field strength, B, since 1750. Part 1 produced composite estimates of B from geomagnetic and sunspot data over the period 1750-2013. Sunspot-based reconstructions can be extended back to 1610, but the paleocosmic ray (PCR) record is the only data set capable of providing a record of solar activity on millennial timescales. The process for converting 10Be concentrations measured in ice cores to B is more complex than with geomagnetic and sunspot data, and the uncertainties in B derived from cosmogenic nuclides (~20% for any individual year) are much larger. Within this level of uncertainty, we find reasonable overall agreement between PCR-based B and the geomagnetic- and sunspot number-based series. This agreement was enhanced by excising low values in PCR-based B attributed to high-energy solar proton events. Other discordant intervals, with as yet unspecified causes remain included in our analysis. Comparison of 3year averages centered on sunspot minimum yields reasonable agreement between the three estimates, providing a means to investigate the long-term changes in the heliospheric magnetic field into the past even without a means to remove solar proton events from the records. ©2016. American Geophysical Union. Source

Share G.H.,University of Maryland College Park | Murphy R.J.,Space Science Division Naval Research Laboratory Washington | Tylka A.J.,NASA | Dennis B.R.,NASA | Ryan J.M.,University of New Hampshire
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics

Low-energy (1-10 MeV) neutrons emanating from the Sun provide unique information about accelerated ions with steep energy spectra that may be produced in weak solar flares. However, observation of these solar neutrons can only be made in the inner heliosphere where measurement is difficult due to high background rates from neutrons produced by energetic ions interacting in the spacecraft. These ions can be from solar energetic particle events or produced in passing shocks associated with fast coronal mass ejections. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that investigators rule out these secondary neutrons before making claims about detecting neutrons from the Sun. The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) neutron spectrometer recorded an hour-long neutron transient beginning at 15:45 UTC on 4 June 2011 for which Lawrence et al. (2014) claim there is "strong evidence" that the neutrons were produced by the interaction of ions in the solar atmosphere. We studied this event in detail using data from the MESSENGER neutron spectrometer, gamma ray spectrometer, X-ray Spectrometer, and Energetic Particle Spectrometer and from the particle spectrometers on STEREO A. We demonstrate that the transient neutrons were secondaries produced by energetic ions, probably accelerated by a passing shock, that interacted in the spacecraft. We also identify significant faults with the authors' arguments in favor of a solar neutron origin for the transient. ©2014. American Geophysical Union. Source

Owens M.J.,University of Reading | Cliver E.,Air Force Research Lab | Beer J.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Barnard L.,University of Reading | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics

We present two separate time series of the near-Earth heliospheric magnetic field strength (B) based on geomagnetic data and sunspot number (SSN). The geomagnetic-based B series from 1845 to 2013 is a weighted composite of two series that employ the interdiurnal variability index; this series is highly correlated with in situ spacecraft measurements of B (correlation coefficient, r=0.94; mean square error, MSE=0.16nT2). The SSN-based estimate of B, from 1750 to 2013, is a weighted composite of eight time series derived from two separate reconstruction methods applied to four different SSN time series, allowing determination of the uncertainty from both the underlying sunspot records and the B reconstruction methods. The SSN-based composite is highly correlated with direct spacecraft measurements of B and with the composite geomagnetic B time series from 1845 to 2013 (r=0.91; MSE=0.24nT2), demonstrating that B can accurately reconstructed by both geomagnetic and sunspot-based methods. The composite sunspot and geomagnetic B time series, with uncertainties, are provided as supporting information. © 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

Pedatella N.M.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Fang T.-W.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Jin H.,Japan National Institute of Information and Communications Technology | Sassi F.,Space Science Division Naval Research Laboratory Washington | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics

A comparison of different model simulations of the ionosphere variability during the 2009 sudden stratosphere warming (SSW) is presented. The focus is on the equatorial and low-latitude ionosphere simulated by the Ground-to-topside model of the Atmosphere and Ionosphere for Aeronomy (GAIA), Whole Atmosphere Model plus Global Ionosphere Plasmasphere (WAM+GIP), and Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model eXtended version plus Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere-Electrodynamics General Circulation Model (WACCMX+TIMEGCM). The simulations are compared with observations of the equatorial vertical plasma drift in the American and Indian longitude sectors, zonal mean F region peak density (NmF2) from the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) satellites, and ground-based Global Positioning System (GPS) total electron content (TEC) at 75°W. The model simulations all reproduce the observed morning enhancement and afternoon decrease in the vertical plasma drift, as well as the progression of the anomalies toward later local times over the course of several days. However, notable discrepancies among the simulations are seen in terms of the magnitude of the drift perturbations, and rate of the local time shift. Comparison of the electron densities further reveals that although many of the broad features of the ionosphere variability are captured by the simulations, there are significant differences among the different model simulations, as well as between the simulations and observations. Additional simulations are performed where the neutral atmospheres from four different whole atmosphere models (GAIA, HAMMONIA (Hamburg Model of the Neutral and Ionized Atmosphere), WAM, and WACCMX) provide the lower atmospheric forcing in the TIME-GCM. These simulations demonstrate that different neutral atmospheres, in particular, differences in the solar migrating semidiurnal tide, are partly responsible for the differences in the simulated ionosphere variability in GAIA, WAM+GIP, and WACCMX+TIMEGCM. ©2016. American Geophysical Union. Source

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