October 14, 2014

First ENA observations at Mars: Subsolar ENA jet

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

Summary: The Neutral Particle Detector (NPD), an Energetic Neutral Atom (ENA) sensor of the Analyzer of Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms (ASPERA-3) on board Mars Express, detected intense fluxes of ENAs emitted from the subsolar region of Mars. The typical ENA fluxes are (4-7) — 105 cm-2 sr-1 s-1 in the energy range 0.3-3 keV. These ENAs are likely to be generated in the subsolar region of the martian exosphere. As the satellite moved away from Mars, the ENA flux decreased while the field of view of the NPD pointed toward the subsolar region. These decreases occurred very quickly with a time scale of a few tens of seconds in two thirds of the orbits. Such a behavior can be explained by the spacecraft crossing a spatially constrained ENA jet, i.e., a highly directional ENA emission from a compact region of the subsolar exosphere. This ENA jet is highly possible to be emitted conically from the subsolar region. Such directional ENAs can result from the anisotropic solar wind flow around the subsolar region, but this can not be explained in the frame of MHD models. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.