MAVEN: Spacecraft of NASA finds the STOLEN electrons which enables Aurora on Mars

Usually, near the poles in the night sky, Auroras appear as colorful ghostly displays on Earth. Our neighbor Mars has auroras as well, and NASA’s spacecraft MAVEN found a unique kind of Martian auroras. This Martian aurora occurs in the daytime in the Red Planet, where auroras are very difficult to see. 

When energetic particles plunge into the planet’s atmosphere, aurora flare up and the influential gases made them glow. The electronics caused this natural phenomenon. Sometimes protons can make this phenomenon, but it’s scarce. Now, the MAVEN community has understood that protons were doing the same things in the Mars, like electrons, do it at the Earth to create the aurora.  

When the sun ejects a significant, robust proton pulse that is hydrogen atoms created by extreme heat, then this aurora is possible. What the proton ejects by the sun is at speeds up to two million miles per hour. This erratic flow is known as solar wind.

The MAVEN community was researching the Mars' atmosphere with the ultraviolet spectrograph imaging, observed the ultraviolet light coming from hydrogen gas in the upper are of MARS atmosphere, and would amazingly brighten for few hours. The team could notice the brightening events took place while the MARVEN measured the growing solar wind protons and instrument the cosmic wind analyzer. These two kinds of Aurora may be impossible at first glance. Justin Deighan, who is the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder and  lead author of a paper on this research which will be introducingJuly 23 in Nature Astronomy said that when they approach Mars, the protons comes with the form of solar wind, and it converts into neutral atoms by stealing electrons from the cloud surrounding the outer edge of the planet.

The auroras of a proton could be common on Saturn’s moon Titan and Venus. These two planets lack their magnetic fields, and they have lots of hydrogen in their upper atmosphere and also plenty of electrons in it. Many stars have the same favorable conditions and have proton auroras. MAVEN mission founded this research. The principal investigator of MAVEN is based at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, NASA Goddard manages the MAVEN project. On the earth proton auroras only occur in small regions near the poles.