Comparative analysis of Venus and Mars magnetotails

A. Fedorov, C. Ferrier, J. A. Sauvaud, S. Barabash, T. L. Zhang, C. Mazelle, R. Lundin, H. Gunell, H. Andersson, K. Brinkfeldt, Y. Futaana, A. Grigoriev, M. Holmström, M. Yamauchi, K. Asamura, W. Baumjohann, H. Lammer, A. J. Coates, D. O. Kataria, D. R. LinderC. C. Curtis, K. C. Hsieh, B. R. Sandel, J. -J. Thocaven, M. Grande, H. Koskinen, E. Kallio, T. Sales, W. Schmidt, P. Riihela, J. Kozyra, N. Krupp, J. Woch, J. Luhmann, S. McKenna-Lawlor, S. Orsini, R. Cerulli-Irelli, A. Mura, A. Milillo, M. Maggi, E. Roelof, P. Brandt, C. T. Russell, K. Szego, J. D. Winningham, R. A. Frahm, J. Scherrer, J. R. Sharber, P. Wurz, P. Bochsler

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37 Citations (SciVal)


We have an unique opportunity to compare the magnetospheres of two non-magnetic planets as Mars and Venus with identical instrument sets Aspera-3 and Aspera-4 on board of the Mars Express and Venus Express missions. We have performed both statistical and case studies of properties of the magnetosheath ion flows and the flows of planetary ions behind both planets. We have shown that the general morphology of both magnetotails is generally identical. In both cases the energy of the light (H+) and the heavy (O+, etc.) ions decreases from the tail periphery (several keV) down to few eV in the tail center. At the same time the wake center of both planets is occupied by plasma sheet coincident with the current sheet of the tail. Both plasma sheets are filled by accelerated (500–1000 eV) heavy planetary ions. We report also the discovery of a new feature never observed before in the tails of non-magnetic planets: the plasma sheet is enveloped by consecutive layers of He+ and H+ with decreasing energies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-817
Number of pages6
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2008


  • Mars
  • Venus
  • Magnetotail
  • Magnetosphere


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