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Solar-wind electron precipitation on weakly magnetized bodies: the planet Mercury

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Abstract

Mercury is the archetype of a weakly magnetized, airless, telluric body immersed in the solar wind. Due to the lack of any substantial atmosphere, the solar wind directly precipitates on Mercury's surface. Using a 3D fully-kinetic self-consistent plasma model, we show for the first time that solarwind electron precipitation drives (i) efficient ionization of multiple species (H, He, O and Mn) in Mercury's neutral exosphere and (ii) emission of X-rays from the planet's surface. This is the first, independent evidence of X-ray auroras on Mercury using a numerical approach.
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Dates and versions

hal-03840601 , version 1 (05-11-2022)

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Federico Lavorenti, Pierre Henri, Francesco Califano, Jan Deca, Simon Lindsay, et al.. Solar-wind electron precipitation on weakly magnetized bodies: the planet Mercury. 2022. ⟨hal-03840601⟩
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