Articles | Volume 26, issue 11
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3511–3524, 2008
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3511–3524, 2008

  12 Nov 2008

12 Nov 2008

Access of solar wind electrons into the Martian magnetosphere

E. M. Dubinin1, M. Fraenz1, J. Woch1, E. Roussos1, J. D. Winningham2, R. A. Frahm2, A. Coates3, F. Leblanc4, R. Lundin5, and S. Barabash5 E. M. Dubinin et al.
  • 1Max-Planck-Institute für Sonnensystemforschung, Lindau, Germany
  • 2Southwest Research Institute, San-Antonio, USA
  • 3MSSL, University College London, UK
  • 4Observatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Trieste, Italy
  • 5Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, Sweden

Abstract. Electrons with energy of ~40–80 eV measured by the instrument ASPERA-3 on Mars Express and MAG-ER onboard Mars Global Surveyor are used to trace an access of solar wind electrons into the Martian magnetosphere. Crustal magnetic fields create an additional protection from solar wind plasma on the dayside of the Southern Hemisphere by shifting the boundary of the induced magnetosphere (this boundary is often refereed as the magnetic pileup boundary) above strong crustal sources to ~400 km as compared to the Northern Hemisphere. Localized intrusions through cusps are also observed. On the nightside an access into the magnetosphere depends on the IMF orientation. Negative values of the ByIMF component assist the access to the regions with strong crustal magnetizations although electron fluxes are strongly weakened below ~600 km. A precipitation pattern at lower altitudes is formed by intermittent regions with reduced and enhanced electron fluxes. The precipitation sites are longitudinally stretched narrow bands in the regions with a strong vertical component of the crustal field. Fluxes ≥109 cm−2 s−1 of suprathermal electrons necessary to explain the observed aurora emissions are maintained only for the periods with enhanced precipitation. The appearance of another class of electron distributions – inverted V structures, characterized by peaks on energy spectra, is controlled by the IMF. They are clustered in the hemisphere pointed by the interplanetary electric field that implies a constraint on their origin.