Advancing Our Understanding of Martian Proton Aurora Through a Coordinated Multi-Model Comparison Campaign

Andréa C.G. Hughes*, Michael Chaffin, Edwin Mierkiewicz, Justin Deighan, Rebecca D. Jolitz, Esa Kallio, Guillaume Gronoff, Valery Shematovich, Dmitry Bisikalo, Jasper Halekas, Cyril Simon Wedlund, Nicholas Schneider, Birgit Ritter, Zachary Girazian, Sonal Jain, Jean Claude Gérard, Bradley Hegyi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Proton aurora are the most commonly observed yet least studied type of aurora at Mars. In order to better understand the physics and driving processes of Martian proton aurora, we undertake a multi-model comparison campaign. We compare results from four different proton/hydrogen precipitation models with unique abilities to represent Martian proton aurora: Jolitz model (3-D Monte Carlo), Kallio model (3-D Monte Carlo), Bisikalo/Shematovich et al. model (1-D kinetic Monte Carlo), and Gronoff et al. model (1-D kinetic). This campaign is divided into two steps: an inter-model comparison and a data-model comparison. The inter-model comparison entails modeling five different representative cases using similar constraints in order to better understand the capabilities and limitations of each of the models. Through this step we find that the two primary variables affecting proton aurora are the incident solar wind particle flux and velocity. In the data-model comparison, we assess the robustness of each model based on its ability to reproduce a proton aurora observation. All models are able to effectively simulate the general shape of the data. Variations in modeled intensity and peak altitude can be attributed to differences in model capabilities/solving techniques and input assumptions (e.g., cross sections, 3-D vs. 1-D solvers, and implementation of the relevant physics and processes). The good match between the observations and multiple models gives a measure of confidence that the appropriate physical processes and their associated parameters have been correctly identified and provides insight into the key physics that should be incorporated in future models.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023JA031838
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of geophysical research: Space physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • aurora
  • Mars
  • model
  • proton aurora
  • proton/hydrogen precipitation


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