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See detailCassini nightside observations of the oscillatory motion of Saturn's northern auroral oval
Bunce, E. J.; Grodent, Denis ULg; Jinks, S. L. et al

in Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics (2014), 119

recent years we have benefitted greatly from the first in-orbit multi-wavelength images of Saturn's polar atmosphere from the Cassini spacecraft. Specifically, images obtained from the Cassini UltraViolet ... [more ▼]

recent years we have benefitted greatly from the first in-orbit multi-wavelength images of Saturn's polar atmosphere from the Cassini spacecraft. Specifically, images obtained from the Cassini UltraViolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) provide an excellent view of the planet's auroral emissions, which in turn give an account of the large-scale magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling and dynamics within the system. However, obtaining near-simultaneous views of the auroral regions with in situ measurements of magnetic field and plasma populations at high latitudes is more difficult to routinely achieve. Here we present an unusual case, during Revolution 99 in January 2009, where UVIS observes the entire northern UV auroral oval during a 2 h interval while Cassini traverses the magnetic flux tubes connecting to the auroral regions near 21 LT, sampling the related magnetic field, particle, and radio and plasma wave signatures. The motion of the auroral oval evident from the UVIS images requires a careful interpretation of the associated latitudinally "oscillating" magnetic field and auroral field-aligned current signatures, whereas previous interpretations have assumed a static current system. Concurrent observations of the auroral hiss (typically generated in regions of downward directed field-aligned current) support this revised interpretation of an oscillating current system. The nature of the motion of the auroral oval evident in the UVIS image sequence, and the simultaneous measured motion of the field-aligned currents (and related plasma boundary) in this interval, is shown to be related to the northern hemisphere magnetosphere oscillation phase. This is in agreement with previous observations of the auroral oval oscillatory motion. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamic auroral storms on Saturn as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope
Nichols, J. D.; Badman, S. V.; Baines, K. H. et al

in Geophysical Research Letters (2014), 41

We present observations of significant dynamics within two UV auroral storms observed on Saturn using the Hubble Space Telescope in April/May 2013. Specifically, we discuss bursts of auroral emission ... [more ▼]

We present observations of significant dynamics within two UV auroral storms observed on Saturn using the Hubble Space Telescope in April/May 2013. Specifically, we discuss bursts of auroral emission observed at the poleward boundary of a solar wind-induced auroral storm, propagating at ˜330% rigid corotation from near ˜01 h LT toward ˜08 h LT. We suggest that these are indicative of ongoing, bursty reconnection of lobe flux in the magnetotail, providing strong evidence that Saturn's auroral storms are caused by large-scale flux closure. We also discuss the later evolution of a similar storm and show that the emission maps to the trailing region of an energetic neutral atom enhancement. We thus identify the auroral form with the upward field-aligned continuity currents flowing into the associated partial ring current. [less ▲]

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See detailThe science case for an orbital mission to Uranus: Exploring the origins and evolution of ice giant planets
Arridge, C. S.; Achilleos, N.; Agarwal, J. et al

in Planetary and Space Science (2014), (0), -

Abstract Giant planets helped to shape the conditions we see in the Solar System today and they account for more than 99% of the mass of the Sun's planetary system. They can be subdivided into the Ice ... [more ▼]

Abstract Giant planets helped to shape the conditions we see in the Solar System today and they account for more than 99% of the mass of the Sun's planetary system. They can be subdivided into the Ice Giants (Uranus and Neptune) and the Gas Giants (Jupiter and Saturn), which differ from each other in a number of fundamental ways. Uranus, in particular is the most challenging to our understanding of planetary formation and evolution, with its large obliquity, low self-luminosity, highly asymmetrical internal field, and puzzling internal structure. Uranus also has a rich planetary system consisting of a system of inner natural satellites and complex ring system, five major natural icy satellites, a system of irregular moons with varied dynamical histories, and a highly asymmetrical magnetosphere. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have explored Uranus, with a flyby in 1986, and no mission is currently planned to this enigmatic system. However, a mission to the uranian system would open a new window on the origin and evolution of the Solar System and would provide crucial information on a wide variety of physicochemical processes in our Solar System. These have clear implications for understanding exoplanetary systems. In this paper we describe the science case for an orbital mission to Uranus with an atmospheric entry probe to sample the composition and atmospheric physics in Uranus’ atmosphere. The characteristics of such an orbiter and a strawman scientific payload are described and we discuss the technical challenges for such a mission. This paper is based on a white paper submitted to the European Space Agency's call for science themes for its large-class mission programme in 2013. [less ▲]

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See detailSaturn Auroral Movies from Cassini UVIS
Pryor, W. R.; Stewart, I.; Esposito, L. W. et al

in American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2009 (2009, December 01)

Cassini's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) continues to obtain Saturn auroral data. Two long slit spectral channels are used to obtain EUV data from 56.3-118.2 nm and FUV data from 111.5-191.3 nm ... [more ▼]

Cassini's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) continues to obtain Saturn auroral data. Two long slit spectral channels are used to obtain EUV data from 56.3-118.2 nm and FUV data from 111.5-191.3 nm. 64 spatial pixels along each slit are combined with slit motion to construct spectral images of Saturn. Auroral emissions are seen from electron-excited molecular and atomic hydrogen. In 2007-2009 UVIS obtained data with the spacecraft well out of Saturn's ring plane, permitting UVIS to obtain a number of short movies of the rotating auroral structures. Selected movies will be presented with geometric overlays and in polar projections. In some movies a cusp-like feature is present near noon inside the oval. One movie from 2008 day 201 shows parallel linear features on the day side almost at right angles to the main auroral oval that appear, then lengthen, separate in the middle, and then fade away. Other movies show similar cusp-related structures that resemble the letter "Q" where a dynamical feature at right angles to the oval moves away from the cusp region. The 2008 day 201 movie also shows one bright "polar flare" inside the oval with a spectrally distinct signature indicating the presence of higher energy electrons. A few of the most recent images were obtained at sufficiently close range that 2 spacecraft slews were needed to completely cover the oval. These images provide almost 100 pixels of information across the oval and clearly show multiple arcs of emission on the main oval and scattered emissions inside the oval. Several frames show emissions associated with the footprint of the Enceladus field line. We will discuss these features, their locations, and possible interpretations. [less ▲]

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See detailRecurrent energization of plasma in the midnight-to-dawn quadrant of Saturn's magnetosphere, and its relationship to auroral UV and radio emissions
Mitchell, D. G.; Krimigis, S. M.; Paranicas, C. et al

in Planetary and Space Science (2009), 57

We demonstrate that under some magnetospheric conditions protons and oxygen ions are accelerated once per Saturn magnetosphere rotation, at a preferred local time between midnight and dawn. Although ... [more ▼]

We demonstrate that under some magnetospheric conditions protons and oxygen ions are accelerated once per Saturn magnetosphere rotation, at a preferred local time between midnight and dawn. Although enhancements in energetic neutral atom (ENA) emission may in general occur at any local time and at any time in a Saturn rotation, those enhancements that exhibit a recurrence at a period very close to Saturn's rotation period usually recur in the same magnetospheric location. We suggest that these events result from current sheet acceleration in the 15-20 Rs range, probably associated with reconnection and plasmoid formation in Saturn's magnetotail. Simultaneous auroral observations by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the Cassini Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (UVIS) suggest a close correlation between these dynamical magnetospheric events and dawn-side transient auroral brightenings. Likewise, many of the recurrent ENA enhancements coincide closely with bursts of Saturn kilometric radiation, again pointing to possible linkage with high latitude auroral processes. We argue that the rotating azimuthal asymmetry of the ring current pressure revealed in the ENA images creates an associated rotating field aligned current system linking to the ionosphere and driving the correlated auroral processes. [less ▲]

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See detailSaturn's equinoctial auroras
Nichols, J. D.; Badman, S. V.; Bunce, E. J. et al

in Geophysical Research Letters (2009), 36

We present the first images of Saturn's conjugate equinoctial auroras, obtained in early 2009 using the Hubble Space Telescope. We show that the radius of the northern auroral oval is similar to 1.5 ... [more ▼]

We present the first images of Saturn's conjugate equinoctial auroras, obtained in early 2009 using the Hubble Space Telescope. We show that the radius of the northern auroral oval is similar to 1.5 degrees smaller than the southern, indicating that Saturn's polar ionospheric magnetic field, measured for the first time in the ionosphere, is similar to 17% larger in the north than the south. Despite this, the total emitted UV power is on average similar to 17% larger in the north than the south, suggesting that field-aligned currents (FACs) are responsible for the emission. Finally, we show that individual auroral features can exhibit distinct hemispheric asymmetries. These observations will provide important context for Cassini observations as Saturn moves from southern to northern summer. Citation: Nichols, J. D., et al. (2009), Saturn's equinoctial auroras, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L24102, doi: 10.1029/2009GL041491. [less ▲]

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See detailAuroral Processes
Kurth, W. S.; Bunce, E. J.; Clarke, J. T. et al

in Dougherty, M. K.; Esposito, L. W.; Krimigis, S. M. (Eds.) Saturn from Cassini-Huygens (2009)

Cassini has afforded a number of unique opportunities to understand auroral processes at Saturn and to highlight both differences and similarities with auroral physics at both Earth and Jupiter. A number ... [more ▼]

Cassini has afforded a number of unique opportunities to understand auroral processes at Saturn and to highlight both differences and similarities with auroral physics at both Earth and Jupiter. A number of campaigns were coordinated with the Hubble Space Telescope such that Cassini could provide either ground truth on the impinging solar wind or in situ measurements of magnetospheric conditions leading to qualitative and sometimes quantitative relationships between the solar wind influence on the intensity, the morphology and evolution of the auroras, and magnetospheric dynamics. The Hubble UV images are enhanced by Cassini’s own remote sensing of the auroras. Cassini’s in situ studies of the structure and dynamics of the magnetosphere discussed in other chapters of this book provide the context for understanding the primary drivers of Saturn’s auroras and the role of magnetospheric dynamics in their variations. Finally, Cassini’s three dimensional prime mission survey of the magnetosphere culminates in high inclination orbits placing it at relatively small radial distances while on auroral field lines, providing the first such in situ observations of auroral particles and fields at a planet other than Earth. The new observations have spawned a number of efforts to model the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetosphere and how such dynamics influence the auroras. [less ▲]

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See detailCassini UVIS Auroral Observations of Jupiter
Pryor, W.; Stewart, A. I. F.; Esposito, L. et al

Conference (2002, July 29)

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