The purpose of this paper is to clarify how the average structure of the Venus nightside ionopause for solar zenith angles (SZA) greater than 90° depends on (1) the direction and (2) the magnitude of the motional electric field of the solar wind. Plasma density structure in the Venus nightside ionosphere has been investigated by using data sets of the Pioneer Venus Orbiter observations. It is found that the distribution of the nightside ionopause locations is asymmetric with respect to the direction of the solar wind electric field, leaning opposite to the electric field vector. It is also found that the asymmetry is increasingly prominent as the magnitude of the motional electric field increases, while not so prominent for small field magnitude. This result suggests that the asymmetric ionopause location in the nightside is related to the acceleration of pickup ions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science