Solar Cycle Changes in the Position of the Intermediate Transition in the Venus Ionosheath.

Friday, 19 December 2014
Hector A Perez De Tejada1, Rickard N A Lundin2, Hector J Durand-Manterola1, Mauricio Reyes-Ruiz3, Stash Barabash2, Tielong Zhang4 and Jean-Andre Sauvaud5, (1)UNAM National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, (2)IRF Swedish Institute of Space Physics Umeå, Umeå, Sweden, (3)UNAM, Ensenada, B.C., Mexico, (4)Space Research Institute, Graz, Austria, (5)IRAP/CNRS, Toulouse, France
Measurements conducted with the ASPERA plasma probe and the magnetometer of the Venus Express (VEX) spacecraft in orbits that probed by the midnight plane within the Venus wake show the presence of a sharp plasma transition outside the region where enhanced fluxes of planetary ions are observed. That transition agrees with a feature reported earlier [1] from the VEX electron measurements and that is now also characterized by a sharp change in the speed and density of the solar wind H+ ions [2]. From the analysis of the plasma data of 10 VEX orbits in two different time periods (August 2006 and September 2009) it is possible to derive the position of the VEX spacecraft at the time when the plasma transition is observed in all 10 orbits. The data show a collection of different distances downstream from Venus where the plasma transition is detected and that are grouped for each time period. As a whole the X-distance on the sun-Venus line downstream from the planet for each of the 5 orbits corresponding to the August 2006 time period is smaller than that corresponding to the 5 orbits of the September 2009 time period. The average distance difference between both sets of data points is nearly one half planetary radius thus leading to two different groups in their distribution. The position of the plasma transition downstream from Venus will vary along the solar cycle being displaced to regions that extend farther away from the inner wake under solar maximum conditions.

[1] Pérez-de-Tejada, al., JGR, 116, JA015216, 2011.

[2] Pérez-de-Tejada, al., JGR, 118, JA019029, 2013.