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Mars thermospheric scale height: CO Cameron and CO2+ dayglow observations from Mars Express

Abstract : The CO Cameron (170–270 nm) and CO2+ ultraviolet doublet (298 and 299 nm) emissions have been observed on the Mars dayside with Mars Express Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars (SPICAM) instrument in the limb viewing mode. These ultraviolet emissions ultimately arise from the excitation of the neutral atmosphere by solar extreme ultraviolet radiation. We analyze a wide dataset covering the years 2003–2013 to determine the scale height of the thermosphere and its variability. We show under which conditions the neutral thermospheric temperature is derived from the CO Cameron and CO2+ emission topside scale height of the limb profiles. We show that emission scale heights are highly variable, ranging from 8.4 to 21.8 km and analyze possible differences between CO Cameron and CO2+-derived scale heights. These large variations appear to dominate over the long-term control exerted by the solar flux reaching the top of the atmosphere during the SPICAM observing period when solar minimum to moderate conditions prevailed. Solar heating impacting the topside thermosphere scale height is apparently overwhelmed by other forcing processes (e.g. waves and tides) during this observing period. It also appears that the crustal residual magnetic field does not significantly influence the scale height of the thermosphere. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that local variations in the thermospheric scale height and associated temperature are equal to or larger than seasonal-latitudinal variability.
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Contributor : Catherine Cardon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Saturday, October 25, 2014 - 10:01:05 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 4:04:32 AM



Arnaud Stiepen, J.-C. Gérard, S. Bougher, Franck Montmessin, B. Hubert, et al.. Mars thermospheric scale height: CO Cameron and CO2+ dayglow observations from Mars Express. Icarus, Elsevier, 2015, 245, pp.295-305. ⟨10.1016/j.icarus.2014.09.051⟩. ⟨hal-01077509⟩



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