EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Density, Energy and Phase Space Density Distribution of Planetary Ions He+, O+ and Na+ in Mercury's Magnetosphere

A. L. Elisabeth Werner1, François Leblanc1, Jean-Yves Chaufray2, Ronan Modolo2, Sae Aizawa3, Jim M. Raines4, Willi Exner5,6, and Uwe Motschmann6,7
A. L. Elisabeth Werner et al.
  • 1LATMOS/IPSL, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, UVSQ, Paris, France (
  • 2LATMOS/IPSL, UVSQ Université Paris-Saclay, Sorbonne Université, Guyancourt, France
  • 3IRAP, Toulouse, France
  • 4Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI USA
  • 5Institute for Geophysics and extraterrestrial Physics, TU Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany
  • 6Institute for Theoretical Physics, TU Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany
  • 7DLR Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany

The Mercury plasma environment is enriched in planetary ions from the tenuous neutral exosphere. We have developed a test-particle model which describes the full equation of motion for planetary ions produced from photo-ionization of the neutral exosphere. The new test-particle model is coupled to a Monte Carlo test-particle model of the neutral exosphere (Exospheric Global Model; EGM; Leblanc et al. 2017) and two hybrid-kinetic models: LatHyS (Modolo et al. 2016) and AIKEF (Müller et al. 2011). This coupling will allow us to consider the impact of non-adiabatic energization on the ion density distribution as well as the connection to seasonal asymmetries in the neutral exosphere.

We compare the density, energy and phase space density distribution of He+, O+ and Na+ from our model with observations from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) time-of-flight spectrometer Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS; Raines et al. 2013). Our results indicate the presence of several interesting high-density structures both inside and outside FIPS observable energy range (E = 0.05 -13 keV), the properties of which are likely very sensitive to the upstream solar wind conditions. We present how these results may aid the interpretation of FIPS data and future measurements by BepiColombo.

How to cite: Werner, A. L. E., Leblanc, F., Chaufray, J.-Y., Modolo, R., Aizawa, S., Raines, J. M., Exner, W., and Motschmann, U.: Density, Energy and Phase Space Density Distribution of Planetary Ions He+, O+ and Na+ in Mercury's Magnetosphere, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1191,, 2021.

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