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Characterizing Mars' magnetotail topology with respect to the upstream interplanetary magnetic fields
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  • Shaosui Xu,
  • David L. Mitchell,
  • Tristan Weber,
  • David Andrew Brain,
  • Janet G Luhmann,
  • Chuanfei Dong,
  • Shannon M. Curry,
  • Ying Juan Ma,
  • Gina A. DiBraccio,
  • Jasper S. Halekas,
  • Yaxue Dong,
  • Christian Xavier Mazelle
Shaosui Xu
Space Sciences Lab, UC Berkeley

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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David L. Mitchell
University of California, Berkeley
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Tristan Weber
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)
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David Andrew Brain
University of Colorado Boulder
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Janet G Luhmann
University of California, Berkeley
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Chuanfei Dong
Princeton University
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Shannon M. Curry
UC Berkeley
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Ying Juan Ma
University of California Los Angeles
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Gina A. DiBraccio
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Jasper S. Halekas
University of Iowa
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Yaxue Dong
University of Colorado Boulder
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Christian Xavier Mazelle
IRAP; Université de Toulouse; CNRS; CNES; UPS-OMP; Toulouse, France
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The canonical picture of the magnetotail of unmagnetized planets consists of draped interplanetary magnetic fields (IMF) forming opposite-directed lobes, separated by the current sheet. \citet{DiBraccio2018twisted} showed that Mars’ magnetotail has a twist departing from this picture. Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) results suggest that open field lines connected to the planet that populate portions of the tail cause the apparent twist. To validate this interpretation, we compare the tail topology determined from MHD simulations to that inferred from data collected by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft, in particular how each topology responds to the upstream IMF orientation. The occurrence rates for open topology from both data and MHD varies with IMF polarities in a similar fashion as the tail twisting. This suggests that Mars’ crustal fields have a global effect on the magnetosphere configuration, supporting the picture of a “hybrid” magnetotail that is partly induced/draped and partly intrinsic/planetary in origin.
Mar 2020Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics volume 125 issue 3. 10.1029/2019JA027755