Thermal Structure of the Martian Upper Mesosphere/Lower Thermosphere From MAVEN/IUVS Stellar Occultations

Sumedha Gupta, Roger V. Yelle, Nicholas M. Schneider, Sonal K. Jain, Francisco González-Galindo, Loic Verdier, Ashwin S. Braude, Franck Montmessin, Majd Mayyasi, Justin Deighan, Shannon Curry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We report the first detailed study of the diurnal thermal structure of upper mesosphere/lower thermosphere (∼80 to 160 km) of Mars from stellar occultation observations by the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) aboard the NASA Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft. Due to stray light contamination, analyses of this data set to date have been confined to the nighttime events. This study makes use of a revised algorithm for removal of stray light from occultation spectra to retrieve the dayside events as well. The dayside is observed to be warmer than the nightside, with the maximum day/night difference of ∼30 K in the lower thermosphere, ∼20 K around the mesopause, with little diurnal variations at lower altitudes. This is consistent with the radiative time constant which is of the order of 1 Mars day in the (Formula presented.) to (Formula presented.) Pa region. The data also shows that the regions at pressure less than (Formula presented.) Pa are under strong solar control with no prominent migrating tidal signatures. In contrast, on Earth, the radiative time constant near the mesopause is ∼10 Earth days and the temperature variations due to tides are quite large. The Mars Climate Database shows a diurnal trend opposite to the data in the mesosphere, with the dayside mesopause predicted to be cooler than the nightside by ∼10 K along with signatures of a vertically propagating tide. The IUVS data set provides an unprecedented constraint on the structure of the Martian mesosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022JE007534
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Mars
  • diurnal thermal structure
  • mesosphere
  • radiative balance
  • thermal time constant
  • thermosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal Structure of the Martian Upper Mesosphere/Lower Thermosphere From MAVEN/IUVS Stellar Occultations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this