Photoelectrons and solar ionizing radiation at Mars: Predictions versus MAVEN observations

W. K. Peterson, E. M.B. Thiemann, Francis G. Eparvier, Laila Andersson, C. M. Fowler, Davin Larson, Dave Mitchell, Christian Mazelle, Juan Fontenla, J. Scott Evans, Shaosui Xu, Mike Liemohn, Stephen Bougher, Shotaro Sakai, T. E. Cravens, M. K. Elrod, M. Benna, P. Mahaffy, Bruce Jakosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the evolution of the Martian atmosphere requires knowledge of processes transforming solar irradiance into thermal energy well enough to model them accurately. Here we compare Martian photoelectron energy spectra measured at periapsis by Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution MissioN (MAVEN) with calculations made using three photoelectron production codes and three solar irradiance models as well as modeled and measured CO2 densities. We restricted our comparisons to regions where the contribution from solar wind electrons and ions were negligible. The two intervals examined on 19 October 2014 have different observed incident solar irradiance spectra. In spite of the differences in photoionization cross sections and irradiance spectra used, we find the agreement between models to be within the combined uncertainties associated with the observations from the MAVEN neutral density, electron flux, and solar irradiance instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8859-8870
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Mars
  • model
  • observation
  • photoelectron
  • thermosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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