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Distant ionospheric photoelectron energy peak observations at Venus

Coates, AJ; Wellbrock, A; Frahm, RA; Winningham, JD; Fedorov, A; Barabash, S; Lundin, R; (2015) Distant ionospheric photoelectron energy peak observations at Venus. Planetary and Space Science , 114 pp. 378-384. 10.1016/j.pss.2015.02.003. Green open access

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Abstract

The dayside of the Venus ionosphere at the top of the planet׳s thick atmosphere is sustained by photoionization. The consequent photoelectrons may be identified by specific peaks in the energy spectrum at 20–30 eV which are mainly due to atomic oxygen photoionization. The ASPERA-4 electron spectrometer has an energy resolution designed to identify the photoelectron production features. Photoelectrons are seen not only in their production region, the sunlit ionosphere, but also at more distant locations on the nightside of the Venus environment. Here, we present a summary of the work to date on observations of photoelectrons at Venus, and their comparison with similar processes at Titan and Mars. We expand further by presenting new examples of the distant photoelectrons measured at Venus in the dark tail and further away from Venus than seen before. The photoelectron and simultaneous ion data are then used to determine the ion escape rate from Venus for one of these intervals. We compare the observed escape rates with other rates measured at Venus, and at other planets, moons and comets. We find that the escape rates are grouped by object type when plotted against body radius.

Type: Article
Title: Distant ionospheric photoelectron energy peak observations at Venus
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2015.02.003
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2015.02.003
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license.
Keywords: Venus; ionosphere; photoelectrons; tail; escape rate
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1546525
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