37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 20 Outer Planets I
Oral, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 9:00-10:30am, Law LG19

[Previous] | [Session 20] | [Next]

[20.02] Mapping the H3+ aurora on Saturn from Cassini/VIMS observations

P. Drossart (LESIA/Paris Obs.), K.H. Baines (JPL/NASA/Caltech), R.H. Brown (U. Arizona, Tucson), B.J. Buratti (JPL/NASA/Caltech), R.M. Nelson (JPL/NASA.Caltech), T.W. Momary (JPL/NASA/Caltech), VIMS Team

Observations in spring 2005 of the Saturn South pole with Cassini/VIMS at 3.5 \mum show faint emission of the auroral oval of Saturn, mapped for the first time in the infrared H3+ emission. These observations required long integration time (1 sec) to achieve an adequate signal to noise. Previously, H3+ was detected on Saturn from the ground in spectroscopy by Geballe et al (ApJ, 1993), and found to be much fainter than Jupiter emission. The location of the oval seen in our images (about 78dg South), can be compared to the HST observations of Clarke et al. (Nature, 2005) mapped in the UV in H2 emission. Systematic auroral observations by Cassini/VIMS will continue during the mission with expected high spatial resolution in polar views over both poles, and will allow us to monitor the ionospheric auroral temperature as well as the auroral variability. These observations will bring new inputs towards the interpretation of Saturnian aurorae which are known to exhibit specific characteristics different from the aurorae of Jupiter or Earth.

[Previous] | [Session 20] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.