Similarity of the Jovian satellite footprints:spots multiplicity and dynamics

Bonfond, B. . and Grodent, D. C. and Badman, Sarah Victoria and Saur, J. and Gerard, J.-C. and Radioti, Aikaterini (2017) Similarity of the Jovian satellite footprints:spots multiplicity and dynamics. Icarus. ISSN 0019-1035

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In the magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn, the intense interaction of the satellites Io, Europa, Ganymede and Enceladus with their surrounding plasma environment leaves a signature in the aurora of the planet. Called satellite footprints, these auroral features appear either as a single spot (Europa and Enceladus) or as multiple spots (Io and Ganymede). Moreover, they can be followed by extended trailing tails in the case of Io and Europa, while no tail has been reported for Ganymede and Enceladus, yet. Here we show that all Jovian footprints can be made of several spots. Furthermore, the footprints all experience brightness variations on timescale of 2–3 min. We also demonstrate that the satellite location relative to the plasma sheet is not the only driver for the footprint brightness, but that the plasma environment and the magnetic field strength also play a role. These new findings demonstrate that the Europa and Ganymede footprints are very similar to the Io footprint. As a consequence, the processes expected to take place at Io, such as the bi-directional electron acceleration by Alfvén waves or the partial reflection of these waves on plasma density gradients, can most likely be extended to the other footprints, suggesting that they are indeed universal processes.

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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Icarus. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Icarus, ??, ??, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.009
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07 Mar 2017 15:34
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 01:42