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Model calculations of the planetary ion distribution in the Martian tail


Based on a recent model of the Martian atmosphere/exosphere and a model of the magnetic field and solar wind flow around Mars, the distribution of different planetary ion species in the near tail is calculated. Three main regions are identified: 1) “clouds” of pickup ions with distinct mass separation travel along cycloidal trajectories; 2) another group of ions forms a distinct plasma mantle in the magnetosphere; 3) a third population fills up the plasma sheet. Further, the energy of ions in different locations is also analyzed. Finally, comparison of observations made onboard the Phobos-2 spacecraft shows a reasonable agreement with simulation results.


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Correspondence to Herbert Lichtenegger.

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Lichtenegger, H., Dubinin, E. Model calculations of the planetary ion distribution in the Martian tail. Earth Planet Sp 50, 445–452 (1998).

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  • Solar Wind
  • Interplanetary Magnetic Field
  • Plasma Sheet
  • Solar Wind Flow
  • Ambipolar Electric Field