8th HEAD Meeting, 8-11 September, 2004
Session 5 Stars and the Sun
Poster, Wednesday, September 8, 2004, 9:00am-10:00pm

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[5.10] Simultaneous Chandra X-ray, HST UV, and Ulysses Radio Observations of Jupiter's Aurora

R. F. Elsner, A. Bhardwaj (NASA MSFC), J. H. Waite, N. Lugaz, T. Majeed (U. Mich.), T. Cravens (U. Kansas), G. R. Gladstone (SwRI), P. Ford (MIT), D. Grodent (U. Liege), R. J. MacDowall, M. Desch (NASA GSFC)

Observations of Jupiter carried out by the Chandra ACIS-S instrument over 24-26 February, 2003, show that the auroral X-ray spectrum consists of line emission consistent with high-charge states of precipitating ions, and not a continuum as might be expected from bremsstrahlung. The part of the spectrum due to oxygen peaks around 650 eV, which indicates a high fraction of fully-stripped oxygen in the precipitating ion flux. The OVIII emission lines at 653 eV and 774 eV, as well as the OVII emission lines at 561 eV and 666 eV, are clearly identified. There is also line emission at lower energies in the spectral region extending from 250 to 350 eV for which sulfur and carbon lines are possible candidates. The Jovian auroral spectra differ significantly from measured cometary X-ray spectra. The charge state distribution of the oxygen ion emission evident in the measured auroral spectra strongly suggests that, independent of the source of the energetic ions (magnetospheric or solar wind) the ions have undergone additional acceleration. For the magnetospheric case, acceleration to energies exceeding 10 MeV is apparently required. The ion acceleration also helps to explain the high intensities of the X-rays observed. The phase space densities of unaccelerated source populations of either solar wind or magnetospheric ions are orders of magnitude too small to explain the observed emissions.

The Chandra X-ray observations were executed simultaneously with observations at ultraviolet wavelengths by the Hubble Space Telescope and at radio wavelengths by the Ulysses spacecraft. These additional data sets provide interesting hints as to the location of the source region and the acceleration characteristics of the generation mechanism. The combined observations suggest that the source of the X rays is magnetospheric in origin, and that strong field-aligned electric fields are present which simultaneously create both the several-MeV energetic ion population and the relativistic electrons believed to be responsible for the generation of ~40 minute quasi-periodic radio outbursts.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ron.elsner@nasa.gov

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.