Chandrayaan-1 observations of backscattered solar wind protons from the lunar regolith: Dependence on the solar wind speed

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Abstract

We study the backscattering of solar wind protons from the lunar regolith using the Solar Wind Monitor of the Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyzer on Chandrayaan-1. Our study focuses on the component of the backscattered particles that leaves the regolith with a positive charge. We find that the fraction of the incident solar wind protons that backscatter as protons, i.e., the proton-backscattering efficiency, has an exponential dependence on the solar wind speed that varies from ~0.01% to ~1% for solar wind speeds of 250 km/s to 550 km/s. We also study the speed distribution of the backscattered protons in the fast (~550 km/s) solar wind case and find both a peak speed at ~80% of the solar wind speed and a spread of ~85 km/s. The observed flux variations and speed distribution of the backscattered protons can be explained by a speed-dependent charge state of the backscattered particles.

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