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Mars ultraviolet dayglow variability: SPICAM observations and comparison with airglow model

Abstract : Dayglow ultraviolet emissions of the CO Cameron bands and the CO2+ doublet in the Martian atmosphere have been observed with the Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars on board the Mars Express spacecraft. A large amount of limb profiles has been obtained which makes it possible to analyze variability of the brightness as well as of the altitude of the emission peak. Focusing on one specific season (Ls = [90,180] °), we find that the average CO peak brightness is equal to 118 ± 33 kR, with an average peak altitude of 121.1 ± 6.5 km. Similarly, the CO2+ emission shows a mean brightness of 21.6 ± 7.2 kR with a peak located at 119.1 ± 7.0 km. We show that the brightness intensity of the airglows is mainly controlled by the solar zenith angle and by solar activity. Moreover, during Martian summer of year 2005, an increase of the airglow peak altitude has been observed between Ls = 120° and 180°. We demonstrate that this variation is due to a change in the thermospheric local CO2 density, in agreement with observations performed by stellar occultation. Using a Monte Carlo one-dimensional model, we also show that the main features of the emission profiles can be reproduced for the considered set of data. However, we find it necessary to scale the calculated intensities by a fixed factor.
Keywords : Mars SPICAM Dayglow
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Christopher M. Cox, J.-C. Gérard, B. Hubert, Jean-Loup Bertaux, S. W. Bougher. Mars ultraviolet dayglow variability: SPICAM observations and comparison with airglow model. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, 115 (E4), pp.E04010. ⟨10.1029/2009JE003504⟩. ⟨hal-00477772⟩

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