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Mapping the Brightness of Ganymede’s Ultraviolet Aurora using Hubble Space Telescope Observations

By SpaceRef Editor
May 27, 2022
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Alexander Marzok, Stehpan Schlegel, Joachim Saur, Lorenz Roth, Denis Grodent, Darrell F. Strobel, Kurt D. Retherford

We analyze Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of Ganymede made with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) between 1998 and 2017 to generate a brightness map of Ganymede’s oxygen emission at 1356 A. Our Mercator projected map demonstrates that the brightness along Ganymede’s northern and southern auroral ovals strongly varies with longitude. To quantify this variation around Ganymede, we investigate the brightness averaged over 36∘-wide longitude corridors centered around the sub-Jovian (0∘ W), leading (90∘ W), anti-Jovian (180∘ W), and trailing (270∘ W) central longitudes. In the northern hemisphere, the brightness of the auroral oval is 3.7 ± 0.4 times lower in the sub-Jovian and anti-Jovian corridors compared to the trailing and leading corridors. The southern oval is overall brighter than the northern oval, and only 2.5 ± 0.2 times fainter on the sub- and anti-Jovian corridors compared to the trailing and leading corridors. This demonstrates that Ganymede’s auroral ovals are strongly structured in auroral crescents on the leading side (plasma upstream side) and on the trailing side (plasma downstream side). We also find that the brightness is not symmetric with respect to the 270∘ meridian, but shifted by ∼20∘ towards the Jovian-facing hemisphere. Our map will be useful for subsequent studies to understand the processes that generate the aurora in Ganymede’s non-rotationally driven, sub-Alfvénic magnetosphere.

Comments: Accepted for Publication in Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets)

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:2205.13223 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2205.13223v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Joachim Saur 

[v1] Thu, 26 May 2022 08:34:48 UTC (722 KB)


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