31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 77. Outer Planet Physics II
Contributed Oral Parallel Session, Friday, October 15, 1999, 4:00-5:20pm, Sala Kursaal

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[77.06] HST/GHRS ultraviolet spectroscopy and model diagnostics of the Jovian aurora

J.C. G\'erard, V. Dols, J. Gustin, D. Grodent (LPAP, U. of Li\`ege), J.T. Clarke (SPRL, U. of Michigan)

A model coupling a detailed synthetic spectrum of the H2 Lyman and Werner band systems with an electron energy degradation code is applied to the analysis of 7 GHRS spectra of the 1200-1700 {Å} region obtained with a ~ 5 {Å} resolution at various locations in the north and south Jovian aurora. The observed color ratios indicate that the characteristic energy of the assumed initial Maxwellian distribution ranges between 17 and 40 keV.

A clear signature of acetylene is observed near the absorption peaks at 1520, 1480 and 1440 {Å}. The C2H2 column overlying the emission peak varies from 0.02 to 0.2 of the methane column. A better fit is obtained for some spectra when ethane absorption is added. The changing mixing ratios relative to methane are attributed to perturbations by heat released by the fast electron thermalization and/or perturbations to the hydrocarbon chemistry resulting from the production of H atoms by the aurora. A spectrum of the Io magnetic footprint and its trailing tail shows ultraviolet color and hydrocarbon absorption charateristics quite similar to some of the main oval spectra. This observation implies that the electrons of the Io flux tube are energized to a few tens of keV, similar to the electron precipitated in the main ovals and polar caps.

Echelle spectra between 1216 and 1220 {Å} at 0.07 {Å} resolution are also compared with the model best fitting the closely spaced in time mid-resolution spectrum. It is found that the effective H2 rovibrational temperature associated with the Echelle spectra is significantly higher than predicted by the model. A steep temperature gradient near the methane homopause due to large heating by auroral precipitation is a plausible explanation for this difference.

We acknowledge funding by NASA and the PRODEX program of the European Space Agency.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://lpap.astro.ulg.ac.be. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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

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