DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 17. Icy Galilean Satellites II
Poster, Highlighted on, Wednesday, September 3, 2003, 3:00-5:30pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[17.03] Observations of Europa's Extended Atmosphere and Torus; Oxygen and the Discovery of Hydrogen

C. J. Hansen (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), D. E. Shemansky (University of Southern California), A. R. Hendrix (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Cassini UVIS observed Europa in January 2001. With 0.25 mrad resolution we identify Europa as a point source of e- + O2 oxygen emission. We also recognize a spatially broader source apparently produced by electron and photon excitation of atomic oxygen. This second emission source may be indicative of a torus of atomic oxygen. Atomic hydrogen emission suggests a strong peak at Europa merged with a more complex spatially extended distribution, partially from a different source.

UVIS observed Europa and its environment with 0.48 nm spectral resolution. The UVIS slit, with 64 spatial pixels, was oriented perpendicular to Jupiter's equatorial plane. The total extent of the slit was such that spatial coverage extended well beyond the orbital planes of the Galilean satellites. The total integration time in the January 6 observation was 17,000 seconds, and on January 12 integration time was 41,000 seconds.

The UVIS data clearly shows the 130.4 nm and 135.6 nm emission features first detected by HST and attributed by Hall et al (1995) to a bound O2 atmosphere at Europa. These are actually atomic oxygen emission lines and using the intrinsic capability of the UVIS instrument we are able to identify both a closely bound O2 component to Europa's atmosphere and an extended atomic oxygen component.

We will discuss the compatibility of our results with the torus of neutrals in Europa's orbit first reported by Mauk et al (2003) using the Cassini INCA instrument. We can identify the composition of this torus to be almost entirely hydrogen. Atomic oxygen forms a very minor component. We find the torus to be much smaller in extent than they reported, with a diameter of just 0.3 Jovian radii.

Part of this work was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory / California Institute of Technology.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.