First ENA observations at Mars: Solar-wind ENAs on the nightside

K. Brinkfeldt*, H. Gunell, P. C. Brandt, S. Barabash, R. A. Frahm, J. D. Winningham, E. Kallio, M. Holmström, Y. Futaana, A. Ekenbäck, R. Lundin, H. Andersson, M. Yamauchi, A. Grigoriev, J. R. Sharber, J. R. Scherrer, A. J. Coates, D. R. Linder, D. O. Kataria, H. KoskinenT. Säles, P. Riihelä, W. Schmidt, J. Kozyra, J. Luhmann, E. Roelof, D. Williams, S. Livi, C. C. Curtis, K. C. Hsieh, B. R. Sandel, M. Grande, M. Carter, J. A. Sauvaud, A. Fedorov, J. J. Thocaven, S. McKenna-Lawler, S. Orsini, R. Cerulli-Irelli, M. Maggi, P. Wurz, P. Bochsler, N. Krupp, J. Woch, M. Fränz, K. Asamura, C. Dierker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

We present measurements with an Energetic Neutral Atom (ENA) imager on board Mars Express when the spacecraft moves into Mars eclipse. Solar wind ions charge exchange with the extended Mars exosphere to produce ENAs that can spread into the eclipse of Mars due to the ions' thermal spread. Our measurements show a lingering signal from the Sun direction for several minutes as the spacecraft moves into the eclipse. However, our ENA imager is also sensitive to UV photons and we compare the measurements to ENA simulations and a simplified model of UV scattering in the exosphere. Simulations and further comparisons with an electron spectrometer sensitive to photoelectrons generated when UV photons interact with the spacecraft suggest that what we are seeing in Mars' eclipse are ENAs from upstream of the bow shock produced in charge exchange with solar wind ions with a non-zero temperature. The measurements are a precursor to a new technique called ENA sounding to measure solar wind and planetary exosphere properties in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalIcarus
Volume182
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

Keywords

  • Magnetospheres
  • Mars
  • Solar wind

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