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See detailProperties of Jupiter’s auroral acceleration region inferred with HST-STIS spectral images
Ray, Licia C.; Arridge, Christopher S.; Gustin, Jacques et al

Poster (2016, December)

Jupiter’s dynamic auroral region is the signature of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling. Precipitating auroral electrons are part of a current system which transports angular momentum from the planetary ... [more ▼]

Jupiter’s dynamic auroral region is the signature of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling. Precipitating auroral electrons are part of a current system which transports angular momentum from the planetary atmosphere to sub-corotating magnetospheric plasma. The magnitude of the currents and hence precipitating energy flux, are sensitive to the characteristics of the high-latitude magnetosphere, in particular the location of the auroral acceleration region (AAR) and the density and temperature of the high-latitude electron population. We use HST STIS observations of Jupiter’s aurora (Gustin et al. [2016]) to infer the location of the AAR and the properties of the precipitating auroral electrons. To do this, we determine the energy of the precipitating electrons and incident energy flux for the two distinct regions within the main aurora and within flare regions. The resulting relationships between energy flux and electron precipitation energy for the main auroral emission are then compared to the theoretical relationship derived by Lundin & Sandahl [1978], in order to derive the location of the AAR and the temperatures and densities of the electrons at the top of the AAR prior to acceleration. We find that that each emission region is best reproduced using a multiple auroral acceleration regions with different properties, rather than a single auroral acceleration region with a varying potential drop strength. [less ▲]

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See detailUranus Pathfinder: exploring the origins and evolution of Ice Giant planets
Arridge, Christopher S.; Agnor, Craig B.; Andre, Nicolas et al

in Experimental Astronomy (2012)

The "Ice Giants" Uranus and Neptune are a different class of planet compared to Jupiter and Saturn. Studying these objects is important for furthering our understanding of the formation and evolution of ... [more ▼]

The "Ice Giants" Uranus and Neptune are a different class of planet compared to Jupiter and Saturn. Studying these objects is important for furthering our understanding of the formation and evolution of the planets, and unravelling the fundamental physical and chemical processes in the Solar System. The importance of filling these gaps in our knowledge of the Solar System is particularly acute when trying to apply our understanding to the numerous planetary systems that have been discovered around other stars. The Uranus Pathfinder (UP) mission thus represents the quintessential aspects of the objectives of the European planetary community as expressed in ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025. UP was proposed to the European Space Agency's M3 call for medium-class missions in 2010 and proposed to be the first orbiter of an Ice Giant planet. As the most accessible Ice Giant within the M-class mission envelope Uranus was identified as the mission target. Although not selected for this call the UP mission concept provides a baseline framework for the exploration of Uranus with existing low-cost platforms and underlines the need to develop power sources suitable for the outer Solar System. The UP science case is based around exploring the origins, evolution, and processes at work in Ice Giant planetary systems. Three broad themes were identified: (1) Uranus as an Ice Giant, (2) An Ice Giant planetary system, and (3) An asymmetric magnetosphere. Due to the long interplanetary transfer from Earth to Uranus a significant cruise-phase science theme was also developed. The UP mission concept calls for the use of a Mars Express/Rosetta-type platform to launch on a Soyuz-Fregat in 2021 and entering into an eccentric polar orbit around Uranus in the 2036-2037 timeframe. The science payload has a strong heritage in Europe and beyond and requires no significant technology developments. [less ▲]

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