DPS Meeting, Madison, October 1998
Session 32P. Jupiter II
Contributed Poster Session, Wednesday, October 14, 1998, 5:10-6:10pm, Hall of Ideas

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[32P.17] Observation of short and long timescale variability of the jovian UV aurora

D. Grodent, J. -C. G\'erard, V. Dols (LPAP-ULg), J. T. Clarke, G. E. Ballester (SPRL-Michigan)

Three sets of Hubble Space Telescope far-ultraviolet images of Jupiter's North pole aurora have been obtained with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 in June 1996, May 1997 and August 1997. The exposure time was limited to 160 seconds in order to reveal short timescale auroral features that are normally averaged during longer exposures and blurred by the rapid jovian rotation. The 3 sets of images show the aurora in a comparable (quiet) activity level, exhibiting long term persistent features such as : (i) a stable thin morning arc, (ii) a morning-afternoon emission dichotomy, (iii) a minimum of low latitude emission around CML=175 deg, (iv) bright localized afternoon structures. The equatorward boundary of the arc closely follows but is not coincident with the footprint of the 20 RJ magnetic field line given by the VIP4 model. These stable structures contrast with rapidly changing features like small size spots blasting in one single image, bright regions connecting trans-auroral structures, and the inner diffuse emission. The question of temporal variability and spatial extent of the auroral features is of major importance in understanding the origin and acceleration mechanisms of the auroral particles exciting the jovian UV aurora. In particular, short timescale processes can be related to field aligned currents generating acceleration structures and discrete aurora.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: d.grodent@ulg.ac.be

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