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Exploring Plasma Asymmetries in Venus’ Magnetosheath

Presentation #211.02 in the session Planetary Space Physics (Poster + Lightning Talk)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Exploring Plasma Asymmetries in Venus’ Magnetosheath

Venus is a prime target for studying how magnetized plasma flows interact with atmospheric bodies in our Solar System or around other stars. Though similarly sized to Earth, it lacks an intrinsic magnetic field, leading to a close coupling of its magnetosphere to the solar wind. Conversely, while Venus and Mars share such coupling typical at unmagnetized planets, their different sizes cause other dissimilar interactions with the space plasma environment. Comparative analyses between these planets therefore enable us to investigate the physics of planetary magnetospheres.

Here we focus on the proton plasma in Venus’ magnetosheath, the intermediary region through which the solar wind transfers momentum and energy to the planet. Using data taken by Venus Express’ (VEX’s) Ion Mass Analyser (IMA) and magnetometer (MAG), we compile a database of dayside bow-shock crossings and proton plasma parameters measured under stable solar-wind conditions. We then develop a methodology to statistically quantify spatial asymmetries between different electromagnetic hemispheres of the dayside magnetosheath. We characterize the asymmetries between the quasi-perpendicular and quasi-parallel magnetosheaths as functions of longitude and upstream Alfvén Mach number, drawing comparisons with analogous studies at Earth. Similarly, we characterize the asymmetries between the hemispheres in which the upstream convective electric field points towards or away from the planet and compare with relevant studies at Mars and comets. Our analysis enables us to explore how factors like spatial scale, turbulence, or pick-up ion dynamics influence the spatial structure of planetary magnetosheaths.

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