Enhanced ionization of the Martian nightside ionosphere during solar energetic particle events

Nemec, Frantisek and Morgan, David and Dieval, Catherine and Gurnett, Donald and Futaana, Yoshifumi (2014) Enhanced ionization of the Martian nightside ionosphere during solar energetic particle events. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 41 (3). pp. 793-798. ISSN 2169-9402

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Abstract

Electron densities in the Martian nightside ionosphere are more than 90% of time too low to be detected by the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding radar sounder on board the Mars Express spacecraft. However, the relative number of ionograms with peak electron density high enough to be detected represents a good statistical proxy of the ionospheric density. We focus on solar energetic particle (SEP) events, and we analyze their effects on ionospheric formation. SEP time intervals were identified in situ using the background counts recorded by the ion sensor of the ASPERA-3 instrument on board Mars Express. We show that peak electron densities during the SEP events are large enough to be detected in more than 30% of measurements, and, moreover, the reflections of the sounding signal from the ground almost entirely disappear. Nightside electron densities during SEP events are thus substantially increased as compared to normal nightside conditions.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
ID Code:
76662
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
13 Nov 2015 14:22
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
08 Jul 2020 04:56