Geissler, P., McEwen, A., and Porco, C. (2001). "Cassini Imaging of Auroral Emissions on the Galilean Satellites." AGU Spring Meeting Abstracts P51A-03.


Abstract

Cassini captured several sequences of images showing Io, Europa and Ganymede while the moons were eclipsed by Jupiter. Io was the best studied of the satellites, with 4 eclipses successfully recorded. Earlier eclipse imaging by Galileo (Geissler et al., Science 295, 870-874) had shown colorful atmospheric emissions from Io and raised questions concerning their temporal variability and the identity of the emitting species. With its high data rate and numerous filter combinations, Cassini was able to fill some of the gaps in our knowledge of Io's visible aurorae. Io's bright equatorial glows were detected at previously unknown wavelengths and were also seen in motion. One eclipse took place on 12/29/2000 while Io was far from the plasma torus center. The pair of equatorial glows near the sub-Jupiter and anti-Jupiter points appeared about equal in brightness and changed little in location or intensity over a two hour period. Io crossed the plasma torus center during the next eclipse on 1/01/2001, as it passed through System III magnetic longitudes from 250 to 303 degrees. The equatorial glows were seen to shift in latitude during this eclipse, tracking the tangent points of the jovian magnetic field lines. This behavior is similar to that observed for ultraviolet and other atomic emissions, and confirms that these visible glows are powered by Birkeland currents connecting Io and Jupiter. The eclipse on 1/05/2001 provided the best spectral measurements of the aurorae. The equatorial glows were detected at near ultraviolet wavelengths, consistent with their interpretation as molecular SO2 emissions. More than 100 kR were recorded in the ISS UV3 filter (300-380 nm) along with a similar intensity in BL1 (290-500 nm), comparable to Galileo estimates. At least 50 kR were detected in UV2 images (265-330 nm). No detection was made in UV1 (235-280 nm), allowing us to place an upper limit of about 100 kR. A new detection of the equatorial glows was made in the IR1 band (670-850 nm), possibly due to singly ionized oxygen ([OII] 732,733 nm). Limb glows distinct from the equatorial emissions were detected in the CB1 (595-645 nm) and RED (570-730) filters, consistent with [OI] 630,636 nm emissions. A small "knot" or concentration of emission near the north pole of Io was seen in all three eclipses, probably caused by a plume erupting from the volcano Tvashtar (McEwen et al., this meeting). Ganymede and Europa were detected in eclipses on 1/10 and 1/11/2001. Results of preliminary analyses will be presented.