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Morgan D.D.,University of Iowa | Dieval C.,University of Iowa | Gurnett D.A.,University of Iowa | Duru F.,University of Iowa | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics | Year: 2014

We present evidence of a substantial ionospheric response to a strong interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) detected by the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) on board the Mars Express (MEX) spacecraft. A powerful ICME impacted the Martian ionosphere beginning on 5 June 2011, peaking on 6 June, and trailing off over about a week. This event caused a strong response in the charged particle detector of the High-Energy Neutron Detector (HEND) on board the Odyssey spacecraft. The ion mass spectrometer of the Analyzer of Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms instrument on MEX detected an increase in background counts, simultaneous with the increase seen by HEND, due to the flux of solar energetic particles (SEPs) associated with the ICME. Local densities and magnetic field strengths measured by MARSIS and enhancements of 100 eV electrons denote the passing of an intense space weather event. Local density and magnetosheath electron measurements and remote soundings show compression of ionospheric plasma to lower altitudes due to increased solar wind dynamic pressure. MARSIS topside sounding of the ionosphere indicates that it is extended well beyond the terminator, to about 116 solar zenith angle, in a highly disturbed state. This extension may be due to increased ionization due to SEPs and magnetosheath electrons or to plasma transport across the terminator. The surface reflection from both ionospheric sounding and subsurface modes of the MARSIS radar was attenuated, indicating increased electron content in the Mars ionosphere at low altitudes, where the atmosphere is dense. ©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Bertucci C.,CONICET | Duru F.,University of Iowa | Edberg N.,Swedish Space Science Institute | Fraenz M.,Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research | And 3 more authors.
Space Science Reviews | Year: 2011

This article summarizes and aims at comparing the main features of the induced magnetospheres of Mars, Venus and Titan. All three objects form a well-defined induced magnetosphere (IM) and magnetotail as a consequence of the interaction of an external wind of plasma with the ionosphere and the exosphere of these objects. In all three, photoionization seems to be the most important ionization process. In all three, the IM displays a clear outer boundary characterized by an enhancement of magnetic field draping and massloading, along with a change in the plasma composition, a decrease in the plasma temperature, a deflection of the external flow, and, at least for Mars and Titan, an increase of the total density. Also, their magnetotail geometries follow the orientation of the upstream magnetic field and flow velocity under quasi-steady conditions. Exceptions to this are fossil fields observed at Titan and the near Mars regions where crustal fields dominate the magnetic topology. Magnetotails also concentrate the escaping plasma flux from these three objects and similar acceleration mechanisms are thought to be at work. In the case of Mars and Titan, global reconfiguration of the magnetic field topology (reconnection with the crustal sources and exits into Saturn's magnetosheath, respectively) may lead to important losses of plasma. Finally, an ionospheric boundary related to local photoelectron signals may be, in the absence of other sources of pressure (crustal fields) a signature of the ultimate boundary to the external flow. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Perez-de-Tejada H.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Durand-Manterola H.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Reyes-Ruiz M.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Lundin R.,Swedish Space Science Institute
Icarus | Year: 2015

Conditions similar to those observed in the solar wind interaction with Venus and Mars where there is a planetary atmosphere in the absence of a global intrinsic magnetic field may also be applicable to Pluto. With up to 24μbars inferred for the Pluto atmosphere it is possible that the feeble solar photon radiation flux that reaches by its orbit, equivalent to ~10-3 that at Earth, is sufficient to produce an ionization component that can be eroded by the solar wind. In view of the reduced solar wind density (~10-3 with respect to that at 1AU) that should be available by Pluto its total kinetic energy will be significantly smaller than that at Earth. However, the parameter values that are implied for the interaction process between the solar wind and the local upper ionosphere are sufficient to produce a plasma wake that should extend downstream from Pluto. In view of its low gravity force the plasma wake should have a wider cross-section than that in the Venus and Mars plasma environment. Since Pluto rotates with the axis tilted ~30° away from the ecliptic plane the plasma wake will be influenced by a Magnus force that has a large component is the north-south solar polar direction. That force will be responsible for propelling the plasma wake with a component that can be directed away from that plane. It is estimated that transport of solar wind momentum to the upper Pluto's ionosphere implies rotation periods smaller than that of the solid body, and thus large values of the Magnus force that can increase the orientation of the plasma wake away from the ecliptic plane. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

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