Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Reader in Planetary Science



m.galand Website




Huxley BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

117 results found

Cui J, Galand M, Yelle RV, Wei Y, Zhang S-Jet al., 2015, Day-to-night transport in the Martian ionosphere: Implications from total electron content measurements, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol: 120, Pages: 2333-2346, ISSN: 2169-9402

The nightside Martian ionosphere is thought to be contributed by day-to-night transport and electron precipitation, of which the former has not been well studied. In this work, we evaluate the role of day-to-night transport based on the total electron content (TEC) measurements made by the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding on board Mars Express. This is accomplished by an examination of the variation of nightside TEC in the time domain rather than the traditional solar zenith angle domain. Our analyses here, being constrained to the Northern Hemisphere where the effects of crustal magnetic fields can be neglected, reveal that day-to-night transport serves as the dominant source for the nightside Martian ionosphere from terminator crossing up to time in darkness of ≈5.3 × 103 s, beyond which it is surpassed by electron precipitation. The observations are compared with predictions from a simplified time-dependent ionosphere model. We conclude that the solid body rotation of Mars is insufficient to account for the observed depletion of nightside TEC but the data could be reasonably reproduced by a zonal electron flow velocity of ≈1.9 km s−1.


Cui J, Galand M, Zhang SJ, Vigren E, Zou Het al., 2015, The electron thermal structure in the dayside Martian ionosphere implied by the MGS radio occultation data, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol: 120, Pages: 278-286, ISSN: 2169-9100

We propose a revised Chapman model for the ionosphere of Mars by allowing for vertical variation of electron temperature. An approximate energy balance between solar EUV heating and CO2 collisional cooling is applied in the dayside Martian ionosphere, analogous to the method recently proposed by Withers et al. (2014). The essence of the model is to separate the contributions of the neutral and electron thermal structures to the apparent width of the main ionospheric layer. Application of the model to the electron density profiles from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) radio occultation measurements reveals a clear trend of elevated electron temperature with increasing solar zenith angle (SZA). It also reveals that the characteristic length scale for the change of electron temperature with altitude decreases with increasing SZA. These observations may imply enhanced topside heat influx near the terminator, presumably an outcome of the solar wind interactions with the Martian upper atmosphere. Our analysis also reveals a tentative asymmetry in electron temperature between the northern and southern hemispheres, consistent with the scenario of elevated electron temperature within minimagnetospheres.


Haessig M, Altwegg K, Balsiger H, Bar-Nun A, Berthelier JJ, Bieler A, Bochsler P, Briois C, Calmonte U, Combi M, De Keyser J, Eberhardt P, Fiethe B, Fuselier SA, Galand M, Gasc S, Gombosi TI, Hansen KC, Jaeckel A, Keller HU, Kopp E, Korth A, Kuehrt E, Le Roy L, Mall U, Marty B, Mousis O, Neefs E, Owen T, Reme H, Rubin M, Semon T, Tornow C, Tzou C-Y, Waite JH, Wurz Pet al., 2015, Time variability and heterogeneity in the coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, SCIENCE, Vol: 347, ISSN: 0036-8075


Vigren E, Galand M, Lavvas P, Eriksson AI, Wahlund J-Eet al., 2015, On the possibility of significant electron depletion due to nanograin charging in the coma of comet 67p/churyumov-gerasimenko near perihelion, Astrophysical Journal, Vol: 798, ISSN: 1538-4357


Chadney, Galand M, Unruh YC, Koskinen TT, Sanz-Forcada Jet al., 2014, XUV-driven mass loss from extrasolar giant planets orbiting active stars, Icarus, Vol: 250, Pages: 357-367, ISSN: 1090-2643

Upper atmospheres of Hot Jupiters are subject to extreme radiation conditions that can result in rapid atmospheric escape. The composition and structure of the upper atmospheres of these planets are affected by the high-energy spectrum of the host star. This emission depends on stellar type and age, which are thus important factors in understanding the behaviour of exoplanetary atmospheres. In this study, we focus on Extrasolar Giant Planets (EPGs) orbiting K and M dwarf stars. XUV spectra for three different stars – ∊ Eridani, AD Leonis and AU Microscopii – are constructed using a coronal model. Neutral density and temperature profiles in the upper atmosphere of hypothetical EGPs orbiting these stars are then obtained from a fluid model, incorporating atmospheric chemistry and taking atmospheric escape into account. We find that a simple scaling based solely on the host star’s X-ray emission gives large errors in mass loss rates from planetary atmospheres and so we have derived a new method to scale the EUV regions of the solar spectrum based upon stellar X-ray emission. This new method produces an outcome in terms of the planet’s neutral upper atmosphere very similar to that obtained using a detailed coronal model of the host star. Our results indicate that in planets subjected to radiation from active stars, the transition from Jeans escape to a regime of hydrodynamic escape at the top of the atmosphere occurs at larger orbital distances than for planets around low activity stars (such as the Sun).


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