Negative potentials above the day-side lunar surface in the terrestrial plasma sheet: Evidence of non-monotonic potentials
Article first published online: 28 JAN 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 38, Issue 2, January 2011
How to Cite
2011), Negative potentials above the day-side lunar surface in the terrestrial plasma sheet: Evidence of non-monotonic potentials, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L02103, doi:10.1029/2010GL046119., , and (
- Issue published online: 28 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 28 JAN 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 DEC 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 10 DEC 2010
- Manuscript Received: 8 NOV 2010
- lunar surface potential;
- non-monotonic potentials;
- plasma sheet interaction
 The Lunar Prospector (LP) Electron Reflectometer (ER) instrument conducted a series of measurements of the lunar surface potential in a variety of conditions. Occasionally, when the Moon was exposed to the terrestrial plasma sheet and in daylight, large, unexpected negative potentials (∼−500 V) were measured. In this paper, we compare LP ER measurements with one-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations of the potential above the lunar surface when the Moon is exposed to both solar UV radiation and the terrestrial plasma sheet. The simulations show that large negative potentials will be measured by LP ER due to the presence of stable, non-monotonic potentials. Implications of these measurements to other airless bodies in the solar system are also discussed.