Enhanced ionization in magnetic anomaly regions of the Martian lower ionosphere associated with dust storms

Venkateswara Rao, N. ; Leelavathi, V. ; Mohanamanasa, P. ; Haider, S. A. ; Rao, S. V. B. (2019) Enhanced ionization in magnetic anomaly regions of the Martian lower ionosphere associated with dust storms Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 124 (4). pp. 3007-3020. ISSN 2169-9380

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1029/2018JA026283

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2018JA026283


The Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding instrument aboard the Mars Express spacecraft observes vertical echoes from the normal ionosphere and oblique echoes from ionization bulges. The peak frequencies of these two kinds of echoes are, in general, nearly equal. In the present study, we report the detection of oblique echoes whose peak frequencies are much larger than those of the vertical echoes. These echoes were observed on 15 June, 21 June, 28 June, and 10 July 2007, respectively. All these oblique echoes were observed from a region of strong crustal magnetic fields. After correcting for dispersion effects, the maximum electron density in the first case is found to be 3.75 × 105 cm-3 and is observed at an altitude of ~88 km. In subsequent cases, a gradual decrease in peak electron density and an increase in altitude are observed. The causative mechanism of these oblique echoes is examined by considering various forces from top and bottom. During the times of the observations, there were no solar flares or meteor in fall. The presence of solar energetic particles also could not be firmly established. We found that these strong oblique echoes were observed at the initial phase and during the progression of a planet‐encircling dust storm in Martian Year 28. A similar, but weaker features were observed in other dust storm seasons as well. Mechanisms causing such oblique echoes in regions of strong magnetic fields are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Geophysical Union.
Keywords:Mars Advanced Radar, Ionospheric Sounding instrument, Magnetic Anomaly Regions
ID Code:114845
Deposited On:14 May 2020 11:46
Last Modified:14 May 2020 11:46

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