DIX Planetary Science Seminar
Mars' lack of a global magnetic field led to low expectations for auroral phenomena on the planet, but MAVEN observations have unexpectedly shown auroral activity to quite diverse in nature and often global in scope. The image shows three fundamentally different types of aurora on Mars. Ironically, Mars' lack of a global field is actually responsible for most of the activity, which leads to a new perspective for non-magnetized objects in our solar system and beyond. Each of the three types of aurora is a tracer of a different important process involving the interaction between solar influences and the near-Mars magnetic and charged particle environment. Below we describe observations by MAVEN's Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph (IUVS) of the three known types of aurora and the insights they offer.