[en] The most dynamic part of the Jovian UV aurora is located inside the main auroral oval. This region is known to regularly show localized but dramatic enhancements on timescales of several tens of seconds, called polar flares. They have often been associated with the polar cusp, based on their location in the polar cap. The present study is based on the longest high-time resolution image sequences ever acquired by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. We report the first observations of a regularity in the occurrence of these flares, with a timescale of 2-3 minutes. We use a magnetic flux mapping model to identify the region corresponding to these emissions in the equatorial plane: the radial distance ranges from 55 to 120 Jovian radii and the local times are between 10: 00 and 18: 00. The analogy with similar phenomena observed at Earth suggests that these quasi-periodic auroral flares could be related to pulsed reconnections at the dayside magnetopause. Indeed, the flares' projected location in the equatorial plane and their rate of re-occurrence show some similarities with the properties of the flux transfer events observed by the Pioneer and Voyager probes.
Space sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research - STAR
Politique Scientifique Fédérale (Belgique) = Belgian Federal Science Policy ; Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS