Science and Exploration

Auroras On Mars: From Discovery To New Developments

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
October 3, 2022
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Auroras On Mars: From Discovery To New Developments
Selected observations of discrete auroras produced with data from EMM/EMUS in the 130.4 nm oxygen band. The data of each swath was first extracted from the latest versions of L2B data level files with OS2 observation mode [20]. The log2 function was subsequently applied to the images. Sinuous discrete auroras can be seen in images d, g, h and i. Additional observations are available in the Appendix, Figures A.1, A.2, and A.3.

Auroras are emissions in a planetary atmosphere caused by its interactions with the surrounding plasma environment. They have been observed in most planets and some moons of the solar system. Since their first discovery in 2005, Mars auroras have been studied extensively and is now a rapidly growing area of research.

Since Mars lacks an intrinsic global magnetic field, its crustal field is distributed throughout the planet and its interactions with the surrounding plasma environment lead to a number of complex processes resulting in several types of auroras uncommon on Earth. Martian auroras have been classified as diffuse, discrete and proton aurora. With new capability of synoptic observations made possible with the Hope probe, two new types of auroras have been observed.

One of them, which occurs on a much larger spatial scale, covering much of the disk, is known as discrete sinuous aurora. The other subcategory is one of proton auroras observed in patches. Further study of these phenomena will provide insights into the interactions between the atmosphere, magnetosphere and the surrounding plasma environment of Mars.

We provide a brief review of the work done on the subject in the past 17 years since their discovery, and report new developments based on observations with Hope probe.

Dimitra Atri, Dattaraj B. Dhuri, Mathilde Simoni, Katepalli R. Sreenivasan

Comments: 14 pages, 7 figures
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Space Physics (
Cite as: arXiv:2209.15229 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2209.15229v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Dimitra Atri
[v1] Fri, 30 Sep 2022 04:50:27 UTC (2,529 KB)

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