A comparison of ARTEMIS observations and particle-in-cell modeling of the lunar photoelectron sheath in the terrestrial magnetotail

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Abstract

[1] As an airless body in space with no global magnetic field, the Moon is exposed to both solar ultraviolet radiation and ambient plasmas. Photoemission from solar UV radiation and collection of ambient plasma are typically opposing charging currents and simple charging current balance predicts that the lunar dayside surface should charge positively; however, the two ARTEMIS probes have observed energy-dependent loss cones and high-energy, surface-originating electron beams above the dayside lunar surface for extended periods in the magnetosphere, which are indicative of negative surface potentials. In this paper, we compare observations by the ARTEMIS P1 spacecraft with a one-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation and show that the energy-dependent loss cones and electron beams are due to the presence of stable, non-monotonic, negative potentials above the lunar surface. The simulations also show that while the magnitude of the non-monotonic potential is mainly driven by the incoming electron temperature, the incoming ion temperature can alter this magnitude, especially for periods in the plasma sheet when the ion temperature is more than twenty times the electron temperature. Finally, we note several other plasma phenomena associated with these non-monotonic potentials, such as broadband electrostatic noise and electron cyclotron harmonic emissions, and offer possible generation mechanisms for these phenomena.

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