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Mars' Ionospheric Interaction With Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring's Coma at Their Closest Approach as Seen by Mars Express

Abstract : On 19 October 2014, Mars experienced a close encounter with Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring. Using data from the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) on board Mars Express (MEX), we assess the interaction of the Martian ionosphere with the comet's coma and possibly magnetic tail during the orbit of their closest approach. The topside ionospheric electron density profile is evaluated from the altitude of the peak density of the ionosphere up to the Mars Express altitude. We find complex and rapid variability in the ionospheric profile along the MEX orbit, not seen even after the impact of a large coronal mass ejection. Before closest approach, large electron density reductions predominate, which could be caused either by comet water‐damping, or comet magnetic field interactions. After closest approach, a substantial electron density rise predominates. Moreover, several extra topside layers are visible along the whole orbit at different altitudes, which could be related to different processes as we discuss.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-02425019
Contributor : Catherine Cardon <>
Submitted on : Sunday, December 29, 2019 - 1:36:59 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 9:55:36 AM

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Beatriz Sánchez–cano, Mark Lester, Olivier Witasse, David D. Morgan, Hermann Opgenoorth, et al.. Mars' Ionospheric Interaction With Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring's Coma at Their Closest Approach as Seen by Mars Express. Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, American Geophysical Union/Wiley, 2020, 125 (1), pp.e2019JA027344. ⟨10.1029/2019JA027344⟩. ⟨insu-02425019⟩

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