A survey of superthermal electron flux depressions, or “electron holes” within the illuminated Martian induced magnetosphere

Hall, Benjamin Edward Stanley and Lester, Mark and Nichols, Jonathan and Sánchez-Cano, Beatriz and Andrews, David and Opgenoorth, Hermann and Fraenz, Markus (2016) A survey of superthermal electron flux depressions, or “electron holes” within the illuminated Martian induced magnetosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 121 (5). pp. 4835-4857. ISSN 2169-9380

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Since Mars lacks a global intrinsic magnetic field, the solar wind interacts directly with the Martian upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The presence of localized intense remnant crustal magnetic fields adds to this interaction, making the Martian plasma system a unique environment within the solar system. Rapid reductions in the electron flux, referred to as “electron holes,” occur within the Martian induced magnetosphere (IM). We present a statistical analysis of this phenomenon identified from proxy measurements of the electron flux derived from measurements by the Analyser of Space Plasmas and Energetic Neutral Atoms Electron Spectrometer experiment on board the Mars Express (MEX) spacecraft. The study is completed for the period of 9 February 2004 to 9 May 2014. Electron holes are observed within the IM in more than 56% of MEX orbits during this study period, occurring predominantly at altitudes less than 1300 km, with the majority in the negative X Mars-Centric Solar Orbital direction. The spatial distribution above the surface of Mars is observed to bear close resemblance to that of the crustal magnetic fields as predicted by the Cain et al. [2003] magnetic field model, suggesting that they play an important role in the formation of these phenomena.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Physics
ID Code: 86973
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 06 Jul 2017 13:50
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2019 04:17
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/86973

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