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Overview of electron observations obtained by the Mercury Electron Analyzer onboard Mio/BepiColombo during its three first Mercury flybys

Presentation #106.09 in the session Mercury (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Overview of electron observations obtained by the Mercury Electron Analyzer onboard Mio/BepiColombo during its three first Mercury flybys

The joint ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission was launched in October 2018 and is currently en route to Mercury. During its cruise phase, the two spacecraft of BepiColombo are stacked together with the Mio spacecraft being protected behind the Magnetospheric Orbiter Sunshield and Interface Structure. Thus, only partial observations of plasma distribution functions can be obtained by the Mercury Plasma Particle Experiment (MPPE) onboard Mio. However, since electrons have small Larmor radii and more isotropic distributions even in the solar wind, the two Mercury Electron Analyzer (MEA) of MPPE have already provided us with new and unique measurements of electrons in the range of 3 eV to 3 keV when in solar wind mode and 3 eV to ~ 26 keV when in magnetospheric mode. We will present an overview of the most interesting observations obtained by MEA onboard Mio/BepiColombo during its first three Mercury flybys of October, 1 2021, June, 19, 2022, and June, 23 2023. In particular, we will focus on the first observations of precipitating electrons onto Mercury’s surface as well as on the properties of inverted-V electron populations observed inside Mercury’s magnetosphere

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