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EUV-dependence of Venusian dayside ionopause altitude: VEX and PVO observations

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Fränz,  Markus
Department Planets and Comets, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Dubinin,  E. M.
Department Planets and Comets, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Han, Q., Fränz, M., Wei, Y., Dubinin, E. M., Cui, J., Chai, L., et al. (2020). EUV-dependence of Venusian dayside ionopause altitude: VEX and PVO observations. Earth and Planetary Physics, 4(1), 73-81. doi:10.26464/epp2020011.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-F54B-2
Abstract
The Venusian dayside ionosphere, similar to other planetary ionospheres, is produced primarily by ionization of its neutral upper atmosphere due to solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation. It has become clear that the expansion of the ionosphere may be strongly controlled by the EUV level, as exhibited in data collected by the Pioneer Venus Orbiter (PVO) during one solar cycle (1978–1992). However, the EUV-dependence of the Venusian dayside ionopause altitude, which defines the outer boundary of the ionosphere, remains obscure because the PVO crossed the dayside ionopause only during the solar maximum; its periapsis lifted too high during the solar minimum. Recently, during the period 2006–2014, which included the longest and quietest solar minimum of the past several decades, Venus Express (VEX) provided measurements of the photoelectron boundary (PEB) over the northern high-latitude region. Since the photoelectron boundary is closely related to the ionopause, we have an opportunity to analyze the EUV effect on the dayside ionopause by combining PVO and VEX observations. We have evaluated and then reduced the orbit bias effect in data from both PVO and VEX, and then used the results to derive a relationship between solar EUV level and the dayside ionopause altitude. We find that the dayside ionopause altitude increases as the solar EUV level increases, which is consistent with theoretical expectations.