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ISSN  2096-3955

CN  10-1502/P

Citation: Liu, D., Yao, Z. H., Wei, Y., Rong, Z. J., Shan, L. C., Arnaud, S., Jared, E., Wei, H. Y., and Wan, W. X. (2020). Upstream proton cyclotron waves: occurrence and amplitude dependence on IMF cone angle at Mars — from MAVEN observations. Earth Planet. Phys., 4(1), 51–61..

2020, 4(1): 51-61. doi: 10.26464/epp2020002


Upstream proton cyclotron waves: occurrence and amplitude dependence on IMF cone angle at Mars — from MAVEN observations


Key Laboratory of Earth and Planetary Physics, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China


College of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China


Laboratoire de Physique Atmospherique et Planetaire, STAR institute, Universite de Liege, Liege, Belgium


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA


Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA

Corresponding author: Yong Wei,

Received Date: 2019-10-15
Web Publishing Date: 2019-12-26

Proton cyclotron waves (PCWs) can be generated by ion pickup of Martian exospheric particles in the solar wind. The solar wind ion pickup process is highly dependent on the “IMF cone angle” — the angle between the solar wind velocity and the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), which also plays an important role in the generation of PCWs. Using data from 2.15 Martian years of magnetic field measurements collected by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, we have identified 3307 upstream PCW events. Their event number distribution decreases exponentially with their duration. A statistical investigation of the effects of IMF cone angle on the amplitudes and occurrence rates of PCWs reveals a slight tendency of PCWs’ amplitudes to decrease with increasing IMF cone angle. The relationship between the amplitude and IMF cone angle is weak, with a correlation coefficient r = –0.3. We also investigated the influence of IMF cone angle on the occurrence rate of PCWs and found that their occurrence rate is particularly high for intermediate IMF cone angles (~18°–42°) even though highly oblique IMF orientation occurs most frequently in the upstream region of the Martian bow shock. We also conclude that these variabilities are not artefacts of temporal coverage biases in MAVEN sampling. Our results demonstrate that whereas IMF cone angle strongly influences the occurrence of PCWs, IMF cone angle may also weakly modulate their amplitudes in the upstream region of Mars.

Key words: ion pickup, proton cyclotron waves, Martian exosphere

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Upstream proton cyclotron waves: occurrence and amplitude dependence on IMF cone angle at Mars — from MAVEN observations

Di Liu, ZhongHua Yao, Yong Wei, ZhaoJin Rong, LiCan Shan, Stiepen Arnaud, Espley Jared, HanYing Wei, WeiXing Wan