Electron Observations and Ion Flows from the Pioneer Venus Orbiter Plasma Analyzer Experiment

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Science  06 Jul 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4401, pp. 116-119
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4401.116


Additional plasma measurements in the vicinity of Venus are presented which show that (i) there are three distinct plasma electron populations—solar wind electrons, ionosheath electrons, and nightside ionosphere electrons; (ii) the plasma ion flow pattern in the ionosheath is consistent with deflected flow around a blunt obstacle; (iii) the plasma ion flow velocities near the downstream wake may, at times, be consistent with the deflection of plasma into the tail, closing the solar wind cavity downstream from Venus at a relatively close distance (within 5 Venus radii) to the planet; (iv) there is a separation between the inner boundary of the downstream ionosheath and the upper boundary of the nightside ionosphere; and (v) during the first 4.5 months in orbit the measured solar wind plasma speed continued to vary, showing a number of high-speed, but generally nonrecurrent, streams.