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Full Version: Mars ionospheric plumes (Also Mapping request)
Unmanned > Mars & Missions > Mars
Hey all,

I was just reading the Nature paper on the observed bright patches from March/April 2012 thought to be plumes in the Martian ionosphere.

I was disappointed to see the reference they used to dismiss solar activity, #26:

That is a great forcast for near Earth but doesn't really address the solar wind.

Luckily Mars was near opposition for the two observations in the article. The Advanced Composition Explorer is then a great observer for what solar wind conditions are headed to Mars.

I uploaded the data synopses for the weeks in question. The most relevant graph is labeled V<sub>R</sub>. It represents the velocity of solar wind radially away from the sun. In both cases you can see a velocity increase prior to the observed events. This makes it likely that this is a phenomena caused by the precipitation of charged particles due to magnetic cusps over Mars' southern magnetic anomaly region in Terra Cimmeria and Terra Sirenum. Their analysis appears to rule out auroral emission as the cause. It could then be that they have described the Martian equivalent of Earth's polar noctilucent clouds. Perhaps MAVEN can harvest some useful data on this effect.

Request: Can someone plot the proposed footprint of the plumes on a map with the Mars magnetic anomalies? Im not equiped with the GIS or datasets at the moment but I'd like to see them and they could add something to this early discussion of the phenomena.
As a follow-up:

It has been shown that an auroral glow is a very good explanation of this phenomena.
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