© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Comparison of accelerated ion populations observed upstream of the bow shocks at Venus and Mars
1Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Box 812, 98128 Kiruna, Sweden
2Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, Université de Toulouse, 31038 Toulouse, France
3Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510, USA
4Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
5Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 8042 Graz, Austria
6Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Surrey, RH5 6NT, UK
Abstract. Foreshock ions are compared between Venus and Mars at energies of 0.6~20 keV using the same ion instrument, the Ion Mass Analyser, on board both Venus Express and Mars Express. Venus Express often observes accelerated protons (2~6 times the solar wind energy) that travel away from the Venus bow shock when the spacecraft location is magnetically connected to the bow shock. The observed ions have a large field-aligned velocity compared to the perpendicular velocity in the solar wind frame, and are similar to the field-aligned beams and intermediate gyrating component of the foreshock ions in the terrestrial upstream region. Mars Express does not observe similar foreshock ions as does Venus Express, indicating that the Martian foreshock does not possess the intermediate gyrating component in the upstream region on the dayside of the planet. Instead, two types of gyrating protons in the solar wind frame are observed very close to the Martian quasi-perpendicular bow shock within a proton gyroradius distance. The first type is observed only within the region which is about 400 km from the bow shock and flows tailward nearly along the bow shock with a similar velocity as the solar wind. The second type is observed up to about 700 km from the bow shock and has a bundled structure in the energy domain. A traversal on 12 July 2005, in which the energy-bunching came from bundling in the magnetic field direction, is further examined. The observed velocities of the latter population are consistent with multiple specular reflections of the solar wind at the bow shock, and the ions after the second reflection have a field-aligned velocity larger than that of the de Hoffman-Teller velocity frame, i.e., their guiding center has moved toward interplanetary space out from the bow shock. To account for the observed peculiarity of the Martian upstream region, finite gyroradius effects of the solar wind protons compared to the radius of the bow shock curvature and effects of cold ion abundance in the bow shock are discussed.