DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 14. Mars Atmosphere II
Poster, Highlighted on, Wednesday, September 3, 2003, 3:00-5:30pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[14.21] Listening to Mars: a search for electricity in the air

M. Roos-Serote (Lisbon Astron. Obs, Portugal), D. Stam, R. Fender (Univ. of Amsterdam, the Netherlands), J. Lecacheux (Paris-Meudon Observatory, France), F. Colas (Celestial Mechanics Institute, Paris, France), M. Serote Roos (Centre for Astron. Astroph., Lisbon, Portugal)

Past radio observations of Mars show variations of its radio brightness as a function of longitude on the planet, but also as a function of time. Combined with recent theoretical studies on dust storms, these observations suggest a link between an increased radio emission and the presence of dust storms. An enhancement in the radio emission could be produced by corona discharges between dust particles, as these become charged through triboelectric processes in dust lifting/transportation events (Nilton et al. 2003).

We have obtained almost 100 hours of regular observing time, plus 100 hours of Target of Opportunity time, on the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope facility in the Netherlands. We also obtained 40 hours on the Nancay radio telescope facility in France. We will perform a pilot study to establish the characteristics of a radio quiet Mars as a function of longitude, to verify the dust-event/radio-emission hypothesis, and to determine the size of detectable dust events. Simultaneous visible imaging of Mars at the Pic du Midi 1 meter telescope (France) will provide comparison material to identify and quantify the intensity of dust events.

The WSRT runs will start in September of 2003. Simultaneous observations will be performed at the Nancay radio telescope. The first WSRT and Nancay observations and tests will be performed in July and August 2003. Observations will be tuned at centimeter wavelenghts.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.