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Numerical Model to Study Proton Polar Aurorae on Mars

Abstract—

We present a hybrid model and a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) one for the solar wind plasma flow around Mars, which serve to calculate the flux of protons of the solar wind and the boundary of the induced magnetosphere. These parameters are used as input data for the kinetic Monte-Carlo model of the impact of a proton flux of the undisturbed solar wind on the daytime atmosphere of Mars. This model is intended to be used to determine the energy fluxes and the energy spectra of hydrogen atoms penetrating into the daytime upper atmosphere through the induced magnetosphere boundary. The obtained characteristics allow us to estimate the parameters of proton auroral phenomena, which were recently discovered in the upper atmosphere of Mars. Based on these characteristics, proton aurorae, which were observed with the Imaging UV Spectrograph (IUVIS) onboard the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, can be calculated. The comparison of the results of these calculations with the observed characteristics opens up a unique opportunity to specify more accurately the properties of the atmosphere and the magnetic field of Mars, as well as enlarges a range of techniques used to determine the solar wind parameters.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The computing facilities of the Joint Supercomputer Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences were used for this work.

Funding

The study was supported by the Russian Scientific Foundation (project no. 19-12-00370).

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Correspondence to A. G. Zhilkin.

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Translated by E. Petrova

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Zhilkin, A.G., Bisikalo, D.V. & Shematovich, V.I. Numerical Model to Study Proton Polar Aurorae on Mars. Astron. Rep. 66, 245–254 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1063772922030076

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1134/S1063772922030076

Keywords:

  • Mars
  • MHD
  • detached shock wave
  • ionosphere
  • solar wind interaction