Reference : HST spectra of the Jovian ultraviolet aurora: Search for heavy ion precipitation
Scientific journals : Article
Physical, chemical, mathematical & earth Sciences : Space science, astronomy & astrophysics
http://hdl.handle.net/2268/6047
HST spectra of the Jovian ultraviolet aurora: Search for heavy ion precipitation
English
Trafton, L. M. [> > > >]
Dols, V. [> > > >]
Gérard, Jean-Claude mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > Département d'astrophys., géophysique et océanographie (AGO) > Labo de physique atmosphérique et planétaire (LPAP) >]
Waite, J. H. [> > > >]
Gladstone, G. R. [> > > >]
Munhoven, Guy mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > Département d'astrophys., géophysique et océanographie (AGO) > Labo de physique atmosphérique et planétaire (LPAP) - Pétrologie et géochimie endogènes >]
1998
Astrophysical Journal
507
2
955-967
Yes (verified by ORBi)
International
0004-637X
[en] Ultraviolet spectra using Hubble Space Telescope sampled between 1250 and 1680 Angstrom, at spectral resolution less than or equal to 0.57 Angstrom are reported for characteristically bright regions of Jupiter's morning and afternoon northern aurora. Several observed spectra exhibit sharply enhanced resolution. We interpret this as bright auroral emission foreshortened on the morning limb with a maximum intensity at least as high as 2000 kR. We have searched for evidence that the primary precipitating particles exciting the aurora include the heavy ions known to exist in Jupiter's plasma torus and magnetosphere. We have also searched for such ambient heavy ions and neutrals at rest in the auroral ionosphere, the end products of previous precipitation, excited by the auroral cascade. We argue that primary emission would be characterized by a dramatically Doppler-broadened (similar to 10-15 Angstrom) and redshifted line profile resulting from the cascade process and the angle between the line of sight and the magnetic field lines in the atmosphere. In contrast, ambient emission would be distinguished by narrow emission lines. We have modeled the theoretical sulfur and oxygen line shapes for ion precipitation and conclude that electron precipitation is responsible for most of the H-2 emissions. O ions contributed <13% of the precipitating energy flux, and S ions contributed < 50%. This dominance suggests that field-aligned magnetospheric currents are more important than energetization of energetic ions and subsequent scattering by plasma waves as a mechanism for generating the Jovian aurora. We set an upper limit over our spectra of 35-43 R to the emission from ambient oxygen and sulfur ions and their neutrals, except that for the S II 1256 triplet, the upper limit for the nominally brightest line, at 1260 Angstrom, is 74 R. Hence, we find no evidence for the accumulation of sulfur in the auroral ionosphere. A single narrow emission line from an unidentified ambient specie near 1254 Angstrom may be detected at the 4 sigma level, introducing the possibility of complex auroral aeronomy. Differences were observed in the auroral spectral hydrocarbon absorption at different locations, which cannot be interpreted without ambiguity between auroral and atmospheric structural causes. We have found that the brighter emission in an auroral sector consistently shows more spectral hydrocarbon absorption than the dimmer emission. We suggest two alternative physical explanations for this phenomenon.
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http://hdl.handle.net/2268/6047

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