October 14, 2014

Origins of the Martian aurora observed by Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars (SPICAM) on board Mars express

Leblanc F., Witasse O., Winningham J., Brain D., Lilensten J., Blelly P.-L., Frahm R.A., Halekas J.S., Bertaux J.L.
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics

Summary: On the 11 August 2004, the UV spectrograph Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars (SPICAM) on board Mars Express made the first observation of auroral-type emission on the Martian nightside. In this paper, we describe the results of a new analysis of the observed emission owing to a better calibration of SPICAM UV channel and the use of all spectral information obtained during this observation. Several possibilities for the origin of this emission are discussed. We discussed, in particular, the possible exact geometry of the observation and the possible origins of the Martian aurorae. The emissions measured by SPICAM ultraviolet spectrometer have most probably been produced by electrons with an energy distribution peaking at few tens of eV rather than by electron distributions peaking above 100 eV. © 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.