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    Ionospheric photoelectrons at Venus: case studies and first observation in the tail

    Tsang, S.M.E. and Coates, Andrew J. and Jones, Geraint H. and Frahm, R.A. and Winningham, J.D. and Barabash, S. and Lundin, R. and Fedorov, A. (2015) Ionospheric photoelectrons at Venus: case studies and first observation in the tail. Planetary and Space Science 113-4 , pp. 385-394. ISSN 0032-0633.

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    The presence of photoelectrons in ionospheres, including that of unmagnetised Venus, can be inferred from their characteristic spectral peaks in the electron energy spectrum. The electrons within the peaks are created by the photoionisation of neutrals in the upper atmosphere by the solar HeII 30.4 nm line. Here, we present some case studies of photoelectron spectra observed by the ASPERA-4 instrument aboard Venus Express with corresponding ion data. In the first case study, we observe photoelectron peaks in the sunlit ionosphere, indicating relatively local production. In the second case study, we observe broadened peaks in the sunlit ionosphere near the terminator, which indicate scattering processes between a more remote production region and the observation point. In the third case study, we present the first observation of ionospheric photoelectrons in the induced magnetotail of Venus, which we suggest is due to the spacecraft being located at that time on a magnetic field line connected to the dayside ionosphere at lower altitudes. Simultaneously, low energy ions are observed moving away from Venus. In common with observations at Mars and at Titan, these imply a possible role for the relatively energetic electrons in producing an ambipolar electric field which enhances ion escape.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Venus, Ionosphere, Photoelectrons, Solar wind, Escape
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2015 14:46
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:15


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