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Determining the Influence of the Planetary Magnetic Field Models and IMF along orbits of Mercury Planetary Orbiter

Presentation #106.03 in the session Mercury (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Determining the Influence of the Planetary Magnetic Field Models and IMF along orbits of Mercury Planetary Orbiter

Investigating Mercury’s magnetosphere is one of the main goals of the BepiColombo mission. Different planetary magnetic field models (PMFMs) have been derived from mostly northern magnetospheric observations and reveal a northward shifted magnetic dipole. However, these PMFMs differ significantly in their predicted magnetic field strengths in the southern magnetosphere. After orbit insertion, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will have a low altitude orbit that covers the regions of the southern magnetosphere that have not been reached by previous missions. In this study, we model Mercury’s magnetosphere with these different PMFMs and extract magnetic field values along representative orbits of MPO. To estimate the influence of the upstream interplanetary magnetic field on the local field topology, we also conduct model runs with IMF directions obtained from the Parker spiral. Our findings indicate that the PMFMs result in significantly different magnetic field strengths within the southern magnetosphere, leading to shifted locations of the magnetopause boundary crossings and extended passages through the dayside magnetosheath. On the nightside, the different multipole moments result in altitude dependent shifts of the magnetic equator. The IMF influence appears to be mostly prominent in the dayside magnetosphere, while the tail lobes and low altitudes of the nightside orbit sections are almost unaffected. In addition to future MPO observations, our results can be used to directly determine the PMFM of Mercury.

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