Status Report

Io’s volcanism controls Jupiter’s magnetospheric activity

By SpaceRef Editor
January 28, 2013
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Io’s volcanism controls Jupiter’s magnetospheric activity

Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io spews out volcanic gas, which reaches its atmosphere and becomes ionized, forming what is known as the Io plasma torus. This plasma torus can interact with Jupiter’s magnetosphere, possibly affecting auroral activity there. To help determine whether Io’s volcanic activity affects Jupiter’s magnetosphere, Yoneda et al. analyzed ground-based observations of Jupiter’s sodium nebula, which provides an indication of Io’s volcanic activity and plasma content in the Io plasma torus, along with satellite-based measurements of radio emission called HOM emission, which is a sign of Jupiter’s auroral activity.

They observe that Jupiter’s sodium nebula was enhanced in late May through early June 2007, indicating that Io’s volcanic activity increased during that period. The researchers observe that shortly after this enhancement began, Jupiter’s HOM emission intensity decreased. As a result, the authors conclude that increased volcanic activity on Io lessens auroral activity in Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1002/grl.50095, 2013

Title: Io’s volcanism controls Jupiter’s radio emissions

Authors: M. Yoneda, F. Tsuchiya, H. Misawa, M. Kagitani, and S. Okano: Planetary Plasma and Atmospheric Research Center, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai city, Miyagi prefecture, Japan; B. Bonfond: Laboratoire de Physique Atmospherique et Planetaire, Universite de Liege, Liege, Belgium; C. Tao: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, 3-1-1 Yoshinodai, Chuo ward, Sagamihara city, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan.

Kate Ramsayer
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SpaceRef staff editor.