AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 130. The Sun and Solar System Studies
Oral, Thursday, January 9, 2003, 10:00-11:30am, 618-619

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[130.04D] Io's Aurora: HST/STIS Observations

K. D. Retherford (SwRI, JHU)

Images of Io's aurora obtained with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph reveal much about Io's atmosphere. Analysis of the distinct auroral features apparent in these images is reported. The equatorial spot features change location with Jupiter's magnetic field orientation. The limb glow feature is brighter on the polar hemisphere facing the plasma torus centrifugal equator. This analysis indicates that Io's UV aurora morphology depends strongly on Io's interaction with Jupiter's magnetospheric plasma. Other notable results include observation of the auroral dimming caused by the partial collapse of Io's atmosphere after entering eclipse, identification of an atmospheric sodium feature unlike the oxygen and sulfur features, and detection of Io's atmospheric neutral chlorine.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: KRetherford@swri.edu

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