Mariner V: Plasma and Magnetic Fields Observed near Venus

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Science  29 Dec 1967:
Vol. 158, Issue 3809, pp. 1669-1673
DOI: 10.1126/science.158.3809.1669


Abrupt changes in the amplitude of the magnetic fluctuations, in the field strength, and in the plasma properties, were observed with Mariner V near Venus. They provide clear evidence for the presence of a bow shock around the planet, similar to, but much smaller than, that observed at Earth. The observations appear consistent with an interaction of the solar wind with the ionosphere of Venus. No planetary field could be detected, but a steady radial field and very low plasma density were found 10,000 to 20,000 kilometers behind Venus and 8,000 to 12,000 kilometers from the Sun-Venus line. These observations may be interpreted as relating to an expansion wave tending to fill the cavity produced by Venus in the solar wind. The upper limit to the magnetic dipole moment of Venus is estimated to be within a factor of 2 of 10-3 items that of Earth.