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Journal Article

Variability of the Solar Wind Flow Asymmetry in the Martian Magnetosheath Observed by MAVEN


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

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Romanelli, N., DiBraccio, G., Halekas, J., Dubinin, E. M., Gruesbeck, J., Espley, J., et al. (2020). Variability of the Solar Wind Flow Asymmetry in the Martian Magnetosheath Observed by MAVEN. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(22): e2020GL090793. doi:10.1029/2020GL090793.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-9170-6
We perform the first statistical analysis of effects that different external conditions have on a solar wind (SW) flow asymmetry observed in the Martian magnetosheath due to mass loading, making use of ∼5 years of Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) observations. We find that the difference between the mean magnetosheath SW velocity component along the SW convective electric field direction in regions in the positive and negative hemispheres displays a strong linear correlation with the ratio between the upstream Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) cross‐flow component (By) and the SW proton density (nsw). The asymmetry is maximized (∼25–35 km s−1) for low nsw (∼1 cm−3) and large IMF By (∼2 nT). These results suggest that the SW flow asymmetry variability is due to a force arising from the differential streaming between SW protons and oxygen ions, with boundary conditions partly defined by the pristine SW properties.