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See detailAnalysis of the Jovian aurorae
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg

Conference (2016, September)

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See detailJupiter’s magnetopause: A search for reconnection and wave signatures
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Kivelson, Margaret; Khurana, Krishan et al

Conference (2016, April 26)

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See detailThe many aurorae of Jupiter: proxis of the magentospheric dynamics
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg

Conference (2016, April 25)

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See detailThe many aurorae on Jupiter: an overview of recent results
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg

Scientific conference (2016, March 21)

The Hubble Space Telescope's high resolution observations of the Jovian aurorae in the UV domain have provided us with a wealth of new information in the recent years. Not only do we have now access to ... [more ▼]

The Hubble Space Telescope's high resolution observations of the Jovian aurorae in the UV domain have provided us with a wealth of new information in the recent years. Not only do we have now access to details down to a couple hundreds kilometers, but we can also analyze changes on timescales of tens of seconds. These images and spectra have taught us that the aurorae are made of many different features, each of them associated with a different process in the Jovian magnetosphere. This magnetosphere significantly differs from the Earth's one, being dominated by the rapid rotation of Jupiter and the plasma originating from Io's volcanism. The satellite footprints are the auroral signature of the electro-magnetic interaction between the Galilean moons and the magnetospheric plasma rotating around Jupiter. In the case of Io, Europa and Ganymede, this signature takes the form of a chain of spots followed by an elongated tail of emission. The tentative identification of a Callisto footprint will also be discussed. Poleward of Io's footprint, patches of emission of various sizes have been associated with injections of hot coming from the outer magnetosphere into the middle magnetosphere. These spots ares thus important markers of the plasma circulation in the Jovian magetnosphere. In the same auroral region, more diffuse emissions are associated with pitch angle scattering in the magnetospheric area where dipolar magnetic field lines become elongated. The most striking feature of the Jovian aurorae is the main emission. This structure sometimes appears as a continuous auroral oval, but it can also display much more complex patterns, especially on the dusk side. Moreover, the brightness strongly changes with local time, as a response to the variability of the corotation enforcement currents and the partial ring currents in the middle magnetosphere. Directly poleward of the main emission, patches regularly appear on the night and dawn sides, in a region generally devoid of any emissions (the polar dark region). Such patches are thought to be a signature of the reconnection process that allows the release of the plasma coming from Io into the magnetotail. The dusk side of the area enclosed in the main emission, called the active region, is the locus of intense and transient (sometimes, even quasi-periodic) flares as well as more stable arcs and diffuse patches. Poleward of this area, stable filaments can sometimes be seen along the noon to midnight axis. Finally, the polar-most region, tentatively associated with open field lines, display rapidly fluctuating patches of emissions. All these polar emissions are very poorly understood and will thus be the subject of fascinating investigations from the Juno spacecraft, arriving around Jupiter on July 4th. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Many AUrorae of Jupiter : Auroral Ffilaments, Flares, Transient features of the main oval, Swirls, Polar dawn spots, Injection signatures and Satellite footprints
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg

Conference (2016, March 07)

The presentation is a review of the many features of the Jovian aurorae in the frame of the imminent arrival of the Juno spacecraft around Jupiter, with a special focus on the most recent results.

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See detailDynamics of the flares in the active polar region of Jupiter
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Grodent, Denis ULg; Badman, S. V. et al

in Geophysical Research Letters (2016)

The dusk-side of the polar region of Jupiter's UV aurorae, called the active region, sometimes exhibits quasi-periodic (QP) flares on time-scales of 2-3 minutes. Based on Hubble Space Telescope Far-UV ... [more ▼]

The dusk-side of the polar region of Jupiter's UV aurorae, called the active region, sometimes exhibits quasi-periodic (QP) flares on time-scales of 2-3 minutes. Based on Hubble Space Telescope Far-UV time-tag images, we show for the first time that the northern hemisphere also displays QP-flares. The area covered by these flares can reach up to 2.4 × 108 km2 (i.e. the whole active region), but often only involves an area an order of magnitude smaller. Using a magnetic field mapping model, we deduced that these areas correspond to the dayside outer magnetosphere. In our dataset, quasi-periodic features are only seen on half of the cases and even on a given observation, a region can be quiet for one half and blinking on the other half. Consecutive observations in the two hemispheres show that the brightening can occur in phase. Combined with the size and location of the flares, this behaviour suggests that the QP-flares most likely take place on closed magnetic field lines. [less ▲]

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See detailAuroral evidence of radial transport at Jupiter during January 2014
Gray, R. L.; Badman, S. V.; Bonfond, Bertrand ULg et al

in Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics (2016)

We present Jovian auroral observations from the 2014 January Hubble Space Telescope (HST) campaign and investigate the auroral signatures of radial transport in the magnetosphere alongside contemporaneous ... [more ▼]

We present Jovian auroral observations from the 2014 January Hubble Space Telescope (HST) campaign and investigate the auroral signatures of radial transport in the magnetosphere alongside contemporaneous radio and Hisaki EUV data. HST FUV auroral observations on day 11 show, for the first time, a significantly superrotating polar spot poleward of the main emission on the dawnside. The spot transitions from the polar to main emission region in the presence of a locally broad, bright dawnside main emission feature and two large equatorward emission features. Such a configuration of the main emission region is also unreported to date. We interpret the signatures as part of a sequence of inward radial transport processes. Hot plasma inflows from tail reconnection are thought to flow planetward and could generate the superrotating spot. The main emission feature could be the result of flow shears from prior hot inflows. Equatorward emissions are observed. These are evidence of hot plasma injections in the inner magnetosphere. The images are thought to be part of a prolonged period of reconnection. Radio emissions measured by Wind suggest that hectometric (HOM) and non-Io decametric (DAM) signatures are associated with the sequence of auroral signatures, which implies a global magnetospheric disturbance. The reconnection and injection interval can continue for several hours. [less ▲]

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See detailThe color ratio-intensity relation in the Jovian aurora: Hubble observations of auroral components
Gérard, Jean-Claude ULg; Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Grodent, Denis ULg et al

in Planetary and Space Science (2016), 131

Spectral observations made with the long slit of the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) on board Hubble have been used to construct spectral maps of the FUV Jovian aurora. They reveal that the ... [more ▼]

Spectral observations made with the long slit of the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) on board Hubble have been used to construct spectral maps of the FUV Jovian aurora. They reveal that the amount of absorption by overlying methane shows significant spatial variations. In this report, we examine the relationship between the auroral brightness of the unabsorbed H2 emission that is proportional to the precipitated electron energy flux, and the ultraviolet color ratio, a proxy of the mean electron energy. We find that it varies significantly between the different components of the aurora and in the polar region. Although no global dependence can be found, we show that the two quantities are better organized in some auroral components such as regions of the main aurororal emission. By contrast, the dependence of the electron characteristic energy in high-latitude and diffuse aurora regions on the auroral energy input is generally more scattered. We conclude that the various auroral components are associated with different electron acceleration processes, some of which are not governed by a simple relation linking the value of a field-aligned acceleration potential with the parallel currents flowing from the ionosphere. [less ▲]

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See detailHST-Juno synergistic approach of Jupiter's magnetosphere and ultraviolet auroras
Grodent, Denis ULg; Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Gérard, Jean-Claude ULg et al

E-print/Working paper (2016)

Jupiter's system is not only fundamental to our understanding of the solar system but also of planetary systems around other stars as well as more distant astrophysical bodies, not accessible to a ... [more ▼]

Jupiter's system is not only fundamental to our understanding of the solar system but also of planetary systems around other stars as well as more distant astrophysical bodies, not accessible to a detailed investigation. Fully exploiting any rare opportunity to explore the Jovian system through synergistic observations is thus critical, as it will impact significantly across wider astronomical studies. Such an exceptional opportunity will occur in Cycle 24, when the NASA Juno spacecraft will achieve its prime mission around Jupiter. Since Juno will literally fly through the auroral acceleration regions, the combination of HST auroral observations with Juno in situ measurements will allow us to finally unravel the origins and consequences of Jupiter's powerful and highly variable ultraviolet auroras. This occasion has never occurred before and is unlikely to ever repeat. Juno will address key scientific issues related to unexplored regions of the Jovian magnetosphere. The auroral signatures associated with these magnetospheric processes will be precisely observed with STIS and COS. This program responds to the UV initiative and is only possible during Cycle 24. Indeed, HST is the only observatory capable of making these high spatial and temporal resolution FUV observations during the Juno mission. This ambitious campaign will yield high-impact results and significantly augment the science return of the NASA Juno mission. [less ▲]

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See detailWeakening of Jupiter's main auroral emission during January 2014
Badman, S. V.; Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Fujimoto, M. et al

in Geophysical Research Letters (2016), 43(3), 988-997

In January 2014 Jupiter's FUV main auroral oval decreased its emitted power by 70% and shifted equatorward by ∼1°. Intense, low-latitude features were also detected. The decrease in emitted power is ... [more ▼]

In January 2014 Jupiter's FUV main auroral oval decreased its emitted power by 70% and shifted equatorward by ∼1°. Intense, low-latitude features were also detected. The decrease in emitted power is attributed to a decrease in auroral current density rather than electron energy. This could be caused by a decrease in the source electron density, an order of magnitude increase in the source electron thermal energy, or a combination of these. Both can be explained either by expansion of the magnetosphere or by an increase in the inward transport of hot plasma through the middle magnetosphere and its interchange with cold flux tubes moving outward. In the latter case the hot plasma could have increased the electron temperature in the source region and produced the intense, low-latitude features, while the increased cold plasma transport rate produced the shift of the main oval. © 2016. The Authors. [less ▲]

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See detailUltraviolet auroral emissions on giant planets
Grodent, Denis ULg; Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Radioti, Aikaterini ULg et al

Conference (2015, November 25)

The aurorae on Jupiter and Saturn are the most powerful proper ultraviolet emissions in our solar system, after the Sun’s. They can only be observed outside the absorbing atmosphere of the Earth with ... [more ▼]

The aurorae on Jupiter and Saturn are the most powerful proper ultraviolet emissions in our solar system, after the Sun’s. They can only be observed outside the absorbing atmosphere of the Earth with space telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope or the Hisaki Telescope, or from Spacecraft orbiting these planets, like Cassini for Saturn and Juno for Jupiter. We will review the types of observation that can be obtained with these different instruments and how this information can be used to interpret the auroral emissions. [less ▲]

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See detailThe far-ultraviolet main auroral emission at Jupiter – Part 1: Dawn–dusk brightness asymmetries
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Gustin, Jacques ULg; Gérard, Jean-Claude ULg et al

in Annales Geophysicae (2015), 33

The main auroral emission at Jupiter generally appears as a quasi-closed curtain centered around the magnetic pole. This auroral feature, which accounts for approximately half of the total power emitted ... [more ▼]

The main auroral emission at Jupiter generally appears as a quasi-closed curtain centered around the magnetic pole. This auroral feature, which accounts for approximately half of the total power emitted by the aurorae in the ultraviolet range, is related to corotation enforcement currents in the middle magnetosphere. Early models for these currents assumed axisymmetry, but significant local time variability is obvious on any image of the Jovian aurorae. Here we use far-UV images from the Hubble Space Telescope to further characterize these variations on a statistical basis. We show that the dusk side sector is ~ 3 times brighter than the dawn side in the southern hemisphere and ~ 1.1 brighter in the northern hemisphere, where the magnetic anomaly complicates the interpretation of the measurements. We suggest that such an asymmetry between the dawn and the dusk sectors could be the result of a partial ring current in the nightside magnetosphere. [less ▲]

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See detailThe far-ultraviolet main auroral emission at Jupiter – Part 2: Vertical emission profile
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Gustin, Jacques ULg; Gérard, Jean-Claude ULg et al

in Annales Geophysicae (2015), 33

The aurorae at Jupiter are made up of many different features associated with a variety of generation mechanisms. The main auroral emission, also known as the main oval, is the most prominent of them as ... [more ▼]

The aurorae at Jupiter are made up of many different features associated with a variety of generation mechanisms. The main auroral emission, also known as the main oval, is the most prominent of them as it accounts for approximately half of the total power emitted by the aurorae in the ultraviolet range. The energy of the precipitating electrons is a crucial parameter to characterize the processes at play which give rise to these auroral emissions, and the altitude of the emissions directly depends on this energy. Here we make use of far-UV (FUV) images acquired with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on board the Hubble Space Telescope and spectra acquired with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph to measure the vertical profile of the main emissions. The altitude of the brightness peak as seen above the limb is ~ 400 km, which is significantly higher than the 250 km measured in the post-dusk sector by Galileo in the visible domain. However, a detailed analysis of the effect of hydrocarbon absorption, including both simulations and FUV spectral observations, indicates that FUV apparent vertical profiles should be considered with caution, as these observations are not incompatible with an emission peak located at 250 km. The analysis also calls for spectral observations to be carried out with an optimized geometry in order to remove observational ambiguities. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamics of the active region in Jupiter’s aurorae
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Grodent, Denis ULg; Badman, Sarah et al

Conference (2015, September 29)

The Far-UV aurorae at Jupiter variety on a wide range of timescales. This study focuses on the dynamics of the active region on timescales of a few minutes. Up to now, only the time-tag mode of the Space ... [more ▼]

The Far-UV aurorae at Jupiter variety on a wide range of timescales. This study focuses on the dynamics of the active region on timescales of a few minutes. Up to now, only the time-tag mode of the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph provides access to such fast variations with a high spatial resolution. This active region, located on the dusk flank of the area inside the main auroral oval, is the locus of particularly bright (up to several mega Reyleighs) and sudden (a few tens of seconds) enhancements called flares. A previous study also showed that these flare could reoccur quasi-periodically every 2-3 minutes and propagate from dusk to dawn. Here we use data obtained in 2013 and 2014 to show that this quasi-periodic behavior is only present on half of the cases and that the affected region could either cover the whole active region or a much smaller area (∼5000km^2). We also found areas that were still during part of the observation sequence and then began to blink (see Figure 1). We also show that there no systematically preferred propagation direction. Finally, sequences acquired successively in the two hemispheres show that the quasi-periodic flares can be in phase [less ▲]

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See detailSimulations of the auroral signatures of Jupiter’s magnetospheric injections
Dumont, Maïté ULg; Grodent, Denis ULg; Radioti, Aikaterini ULg et al

Conference (2015, September 29)

We report the evolution of ultraviolet auroral features located equatorward of the main emission appearing in the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images of the northern and the southern Jovian hemisphere. We ... [more ▼]

We report the evolution of ultraviolet auroral features located equatorward of the main emission appearing in the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images of the northern and the southern Jovian hemisphere. We investigate the possibility that those ultraviolet auroral structures are associated with energetic particle injections. For this study, we compare the characteristics of the simulated auroral signature of plasma injections with the observed parameters of equatorward isolated auroral structures. [less ▲]

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See detailObserving Jupiter’s polar stratospheric haze with HST/STIS. An HST White Paper
Grodent, Denis ULg; Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Nichols, Jonathan D.

E-print/Working paper (2015)

The purpose of this HST white paper is to demonstrate that it is possible to monitor Jupiter’s polar haze with HST/STIS without breaking the ground screening limit for bright objects. This demonstration ... [more ▼]

The purpose of this HST white paper is to demonstrate that it is possible to monitor Jupiter’s polar haze with HST/STIS without breaking the ground screening limit for bright objects. This demonstration rests on a thorough simulation of STIS output from an existing image obtained with HST/WFPC2. It is shown that the STIS NUV-MAMA + F25CIII filter assembly provides a count rate per pixel ~11 times smaller than that obtained for one pixel of WFPC2 WF3 CCD + F218W corresponding filter. This ratio is sufficiently large to cope with the bright solar light scattered by Jupiter’s atmosphere, which was a lesser concern for WFPC2 CCD safety. These STIS images would provide unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution observations of small-scale stratospheric aerosol structures, possibly associated with Jupiter’s complex FUV aurora. [less ▲]

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See detailSimulations of the auroral signatures of Jupiter’s magnetospheric injections
Dumont, Maïté ULg; Grodent, Denis ULg; Radioti, Aikaterini ULg et al

Poster (2015, June 04)

Jupiter’s ultraviolet auroral emissions are divided into four main components: the polar emissions, the main emission, the satellite footprints and the outer emissions. The morphology of the outer ... [more ▼]

Jupiter’s ultraviolet auroral emissions are divided into four main components: the polar emissions, the main emission, the satellite footprints and the outer emissions. The morphology of the outer emissions can be either diffuse, arc-shaped or compact emissions. In the present study, we focus on outer emissions clearly detaching from the main emission and forming compact structures that are evolving regardless of the rest of the auroral emission. These auroral features were selected because they have the same appearance as the auroral signature of a clearly identified injection previously observed by Mauk et al. [2002] at Jupiter, based on simultaneous Galileo spacecraft and Hubble Space Telescope measurements. Here, we report on the evolution of those ultraviolet auroral features appearing in Hubble Space Telescope images of the northern and southern Jovian hemispheres. We investigate the possibility that those ultraviolet auroral structures are associated with energetic particle injections. For this study, we analyze the temporal variations of the longitudinal extent and of the brightness of the auroral structures. Indeed, the injected charged particles drift at different rates due to energy-dependent gradient and curvature drifts, which leads to an increase with time of the longitudinal extent of the feature and of its associated auroral signature. Since the injected energy follows the same trend, the brightness decreases with time. Different processes can generate auroral signatures of plasma injections. We simulate them by considering that pitch angle diffusion is generated by the precipitating energy flux in the ionosphere and whistler-mode waves through electron scattering. We compare the characteristics of the simulated signature with the observed parameters. Following this comparison, we are able to test whether the aforementioned mechanism is responsible for the auroral emission and to infer the typical energy and the spectral index of the energy distribution of the electrons involved in the injection process. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Main Auroral Emission at Jupiter: Altitude profile and Dawn-Dusk Asymmetry
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg; Gustin, Jacques ULg; Gérard, Jean-Claude ULg et al

Poster (2015, June 04)

The main auroral emission at Jupiter generally forms a quasi-continuous curtain around each magnetic poles. This emission magnetically maps to the middle magnetosphere and is related to the corotation ... [more ▼]

The main auroral emission at Jupiter generally forms a quasi-continuous curtain around each magnetic poles. This emission magnetically maps to the middle magnetosphere and is related to the corotation enforcement of the plasma originating from the volcanic satellite Io. The first models of corotation enforcement current system at Jupiter assumed symmetry around the magnetic axis. However, observations and further development of these models outlined the importance of local time variability of such currents. In this presentation, we show the results of two studies of this local time variability relying on the large dataset of Far-UV observations from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Knight’s theory of field aligned current predicts that the auroral precipitating energy flux and the energy of the precipitating electrons are correlated. Since the altitude of the auroral emissions decreases as the energy increases, it is thus expected that the altitude of the auroral brightness peak varies as a function of the local time following the variations of the field aligned currents. We compare the altitude of the main emission on the post-dusk side as seen in the visible domain by Galileo’s Solid State Imager and the same altitude for the night side as seen by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on board HST in the Far-UV domain. We show some significant differences between the two data sets. Unfortunately, a careful analysis involving both spectral observations and simulations indicates that the Far-UV vertical profiles are hampered by observational ambiguities due to absorption by hydrocarbon molecules. Only additional and judiciously designed new observations could reveal the actual amount of methane along the line of sight. The second study consists in a comparison of the emitted power in local time sectors corresponding to dawn and dusk. Results in the northern hemisphere are difficult to interpret because the magnetic anomaly probably causes a decrease of the auroral brightness in regions of strong magnetic field. In the southern hemisphere, where the field magnitude is more uniform along the main oval, the dusk sector is ~3 times brighter than the dawn sector. In accordance with measurements of magnetic field divergence in the equatorial plane by Galileo, these results suggest the presence of a partial ring current in the night side of the magnetosphere with upward currents in the dawn side and downward currents in the dusk side. [less ▲]

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See detailConnecting planets to their moons: The auroral satellite footprints
Bonfond, Bertrand ULg

Conference (2015, June 03)

Among the many features of the Giant planets’ aurorae are very special spots which move in a very distinct manner compared with the remaining of the aurora. Indeed, these spots are magnetically connected ... [more ▼]

Among the many features of the Giant planets’ aurorae are very special spots which move in a very distinct manner compared with the remaining of the aurora. Indeed, these spots are magnetically connected with planetary satellites and rotate around the poles at the same pace as their parent moon. These features, called the satellite footprints, are the signature of the electromagnetic interaction between the moons and the rapidly rotating magnetosphere plasma. On Jupiter, Io, Europa and Ganymede (and possibly Callisto) have their respective footprints while only the Enceladus footprint has been detected on Saturn so far. Several models of the interaction between Io and the jovian magnetosphere, from the unipolar inductor to the ideal Alfvén wings model, have been proposed well before the first observations of the footprints in 1993. However, the continuously improving technologies and observing methods gave rise to more accurate observations that challenged several aspects of these models and lead to further refinements. For example, when analyzed in detail, high resolution images of the aurorae show that the footprints of Io and Ganymede are not made of one, but several spots, and that the footprint of Io, Europa and Ganymede can be followed by an extended tail. The respective motion of these spots as a function of the orientation of the planetary magnetic field suggests that the Alfvén waves launched from these satellites accelerate the electrons in both directions along the field lines, hence doubling the number of visible spots, Moreover, studies of the satellite footprints are not only useful to unveil some key aspects of the moon-magnetosphere interactions, but they also contribute to the understanding of the whole magnetospheric system. For instance, their locations have been used as landmarks to constrain magnetic field models or to more accurately relate some auroral structures with their root region in the magnetosphere. [less ▲]

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