United Arab Emirates Mars mission (EMM) and NASA’s MAVEN probes have detected ‘dappled’ proton auroras in the Martian sky, providing new insights into the red planet’s atmosphere.
Auroras are natural light displays in planetary skies, mostly seen at high latitudes, such as the Northern Lights or Northern Lights seen from Earth.
The new auroras discovered by the team are formed when the solar wind directly hits Mars’ upper atmosphere and emits ultraviolet light as it slows down.
It was discovered in a daytime disk snapshot obtained by the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), which observes the planet’s upper atmosphere.
When auroras occur, small areas of the Earth become brighter, indicating strong localized energy in the atmosphere.
Hessa Al Matroushi, Head of Science at EMM, said: “Our discovery of these mottled proton auroras adds a new event to the long list of events currently studied at EMM and challenges our existing understanding of how the Martian daytime proton auroras form. View.” .
“So far, the EMM Hope rover has uncovered many unexpected phenomena that expand our understanding of the dynamics of the Martian atmosphere and magnetosphere.
“These new observations, combined with the MAVEN data, open up entirely new possibilities for scientific research,” Matroushi said.
Mike Chaffin, a member of the EMM science team, said the new images represent the first time scientists have gained a global understanding of the spatial variability of Martian proton auroras, and the first time they have been able to clearly observe This patchy structure, lead author of the study, was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
We know that these wavelengths are only emitted by hydrogen atoms, which tells us that ultra-high-energy hydrogen atoms must be present in the atmosphere to produce auroral emissions, Chaffin said.
A data sharing agreement between EMM and MAVEN allows new EMM images to be analyzed using plasma observations made by MAVEN, which have characterized the Martian atmosphere since 2014.
In the new study, EMM discovered fine structures in proton auroras spanning one side of the Martian sky.
Typical proton auroras observations by MAVEN and ESA’s (European Space Agency) Mars Express mission show that these auroras appear smooth and evenly distributed across the hemisphere.
In contrast, the proton auroras observed by the EMM appear highly dynamic and variable, the researchers said.
They say these “mottled proton auroras” form when turbulent conditions around Mars allow charged particles to rush directly into the atmosphere and glow as they slow down.
The UAE’s Hope mission has so far observed sporadic auroras several times over the course of its mission, and the shape of the aurora is not always the same.
“Whether we’ll see anything as spectacular as what we already have is anyone’s guess, but I’m hopeful. Hope continues to far exceed our expectations for scientific discovery and I can’t wait to see what we learn next to what,” Chaffin added.
(Only the title and images of this report may have been modified by Business Standards staff; the rest of the content was automatically generated from the syndicated feed.)
Business Standard always strives to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that interest you and have wider political and economic impact on the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our products only strengthens our resolve and commitment to these ideals. Even during these difficult times caused by Covid-19, we remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with reliable news, authoritative views and insightful commentary on relevant hot issues.
However, we have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more so that we can continue to provide you with more quality content. Our subscription model is inspired by the many people who subscribe to our online content. Subscribing more to our online content can only help us achieve our goal of providing you with better, more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support with more subscriptions helps us deliver on the journalism we promise.
Support quality news and Subscribe to Business Standards.