Calculated ionization rates, ion densities, and airglow emission rates due to precipitating electrons in the nightside ionosphere of Mars

S.A. Haider, Jhoon Kim, Andrew Nagy

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The calculations presented in this paper clearly establish that the electron fluxes measured by the HARP instrument, carried on board Phobos 2, could cause significant electron impact ionization and excitation in the nightside atmosphere of Mars, if these electrons actually do precipitate. The calculated peak electron densities were found to be about a factor of 2 larger than the mean observed nightside densities, indicating that if a significant fraction of the measured electrons actually precipitate, they could be the dominant mechanism responsible for maintaining the nightside ionosphere. The calculated zenith column emission rates of the O I 5577‐Å and 6300‐Å and CO Cameron band emissions, due to electron impact and dissociative recombination mechanisms, were found to be significant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10637-10641
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue numberA7
Publication statusPublished - 1992 Jul 1


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