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Making Waves: Mirror Mode Structures Around Mars Observed by the MAVEN Spacecraft

Abstract : We present an in-depth analysis of a time interval when quasi-linear mirror mode structures were detected by magnetic field and plasma measurements as observed by the NASA/Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN spacecraft. We employ ion and electron spectrometers in tandem to support the magnetic field measurements and confirm that the signatures are indeed mirror modes. Wedged against the magnetic pile-up boundary, the low-frequency signatures last on average ∼10 with corresponding sizes of the order of 15-30 upstream solar wind proton thermal gyroradii, or 10-20 proton gyroradii in the immediate wake of the quasi-perpendicular bow shock. Their peak-to-peak amplitudes are of the order of 30-35 nT with respect to the background field, and appear as a mixture of dips and peaks, suggesting that they may have been at different stages in their evolution. Situated in a marginally stable plasma with β ∼ 1, we hypothesize that these so-called magnetic bottles, containing a relatively higher energy and denser ion population with respect to the background plasma, are formed upstream of the spacecraft behind the quasi-perpendicular shock. These signatures are very reminiscent of magnetic bottles found at other unmagnetized objects such as Venus and comets, also interpreted as mirror modes. Our case study constitutes the first unmistakable identification and characterization of mirror modes at Mars from the joint points of view of magnetic field, electron and ion measurements. Up until now, the lack of high-temporal resolution plasma measurements has prevented such an in-depth study.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03672059
Contributor : Nathalie POTHIER Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 10:34:22 AM
Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 9:12:17 AM

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Cyril Simon Wedlund, Martin Volwerk, Christian Mazelle, Jasper Halekas, Diana Rojas-Castillo, et al.. Making Waves: Mirror Mode Structures Around Mars Observed by the MAVEN Spacecraft. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2022, 127, ⟨10.1029/2021JA029811⟩. ⟨insu-03672059⟩

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