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Mars Express and Venus Express multi-point observation's of geoeffective solar flare events in December 2006

Futaana, Y; Barabash, S; Yamauchi, M; McKenna-Lawlor, S; Lundin, R; Luhmann, JG; ... Bochsler, P; + view all (2008) Mars Express and Venus Express multi-point observation's of geoeffective solar flare events in December 2006. PLANET SPACE SCI , 56 (6) 873 - 880. 10.1016/j.pss.2007.10.014.

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Abstract

In December 2006, a single active region produced a series of proton solar flares, with X-ray class up to the X9.0 level, starting on 5 December 2006 at 10:35 UT. A feature of this X9.0 flare is that associated MeV particles were observed at Venus and Mars by Venus Express (VEX) and Mars Express (MEX), which were similar to 80 degrees and similar to 125 degrees east of the flare site, respectively, in addition to the Earth, which was similar to 79 degrees west of the flare site. On December 5, 2006, the plasma instruments ASPERA-3 and ASPERA-4 on board MEX and VEX detected a large enhancement in their respective background count levels. This is a typical signature of solar energetic particle (SEP) events, i.e., intensive MeV particle fluxes. The timings of these enhancements were consistent with the estimated field-aligned travel time of particles associated with the X9.0 flare that followed the Parker spiral to reach Venus and Mars. Coronal mass ejection (CME) signatures that might be related to the proton flare were twice identified at Venus within < 43 and < 67 h after the flare. Although these CMEs did not necessarily originate from the X9.0 flare on December 5, 2006, they most likely originated from the same active region because these characteristics are very similar to flare-associated CMEs observed on the Earth. These observations indicate that CME and flare activities on the invisible side of the Sun may affect terrestrial space weather as a result of traveling more than 90 degrees in both azimuthal directions in the heliosphere. We would also like to emphasize that during the SEP activity, MEX data indicate an approximately one-order of magnitude enhancement in the heavy ion outflow flux from the Martian atmosphere. This is the first observation of the increase of escaping ion flux from Martian atmosphere during an intensive SEP event. This suggests that the solar EUV flux levels significantly affect the atmopheric loss from unmagnetized planets. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type:Article
Title:Mars Express and Venus Express multi-point observation's of geoeffective solar flare events in December 2006
DOI:10.1016/j.pss.2007.10.014
Keywords:solar flare, space weather, ion escape, Mars, Venus, SEP, ATMOSPHERIC EROSION, PLASMA, WIND, ASPERA-3, ESCAPE
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Space and Climate Physics

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