Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Astronomy

First Advisor

Nick Schneider

Abstract

In September 2017, the Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph (IUVS) on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft detected a global aurora event that took place as a consequence of an unexpectedly strong blast from the sun. The most widespread of these detected auroras is diffuse aurora, which was confirmed to be global aurora. This global aurora was seen at lower altitudes and has been discovered to be directly related to the detection of highly energetic solar outbursts. These outbursts are typically energetic electrons precipitating downwards (Schneider et al., 2015). I was interested in learning more about the aurora that appeared for the length of the event. I have focused especially on the aurora seen on September 14th, during the declining phase of the aurora event, because it will allow me to determine whether there might be a connection between the observed diffuse aurora event and discrete auroral processes. I have determined the nature of the auroral data that was collected on September 14th, and have used it to draw a conclusion about the relationship between the auroral processes on Mars that took place due to the September 2017 space weather event, and the crustal magnetic field on the surface of Mars. This aurora was ``discrete aurora,'' and it was located in the cusp regions of the crustal magnetic field, where the magnetic field lines have a high probability of being open. The particles that have caused the formation of this aurora are likely to be electrons or low-energy protons.

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