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Title: Saturn’s dayside ultraviolet auroras : Evidence for morphological dependence on the direction of the upstream interplanetary magnetic field
Authors: Meredith, Calum J.
Alexeev, I. I.
Badman, Sarah V.
Belenkaya, E. S.
Cowley, Stanley W. H.
Dougherty, M. K.
Kalegaev, V. V.
Lewis, G. R.
Nichols, Jonathan D.
First Published: 12-Mar-2014
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Citation: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 119, 1994–2008, March 2014
Abstract: We examine a unique data set from seven Hubble Space Telescope (HST) ‘visits’ that imaged Saturn’s northern dayside ultraviolet emissions exhibiting usual circumpolar ‘auroral oval’ morphologies, during which Cassini measured the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) upstream of Saturn’s bow shock over intervals of several hours. The auroras generally consist of a dawn arc extending towards noon centered near ~15° co-latitude, together with intermittent patchy forms at ~10° co-latitude and poleward thereof, located between noon and dusk. The dawn arc is a persistent feature, but exhibits variations in position, width, and intensity, which have no clear relationship with the concurrent IMF. However, the patchy post-noon auroras are found to relate to the (suitably lagged and averaged) IMF B[subscript z], being present during all four visits with positive B[subscript z] and absent during all three visits with negative B[subscript z]. The most continuous such forms occur in the case of strongest positive B[subscript z]. These results suggest that the post-noon forms are associated with reconnection and open flux production at Saturn’s magnetopause, related to the similarly-interpreted bifurcated auroral arc structures previously observed in this LT sector in Cassini UVIS data, whose details remain unresolved in these HST images. One of the intervals with negative IMF B[subscript z], however, exhibits a pre-noon patch of very high latitude emission extending poleward of the dawn arc to the magnetic/spin pole, suggestive of the occurrence of lobe reconnection. Overall, these data provide evidence of significant IMF-dependence in the morphology of Saturn’s dayside auroras.
DOI Link: 10.1002/2013JA019598
eISSN: 2169-9402
Type: Journal Article
Rights: ©2014. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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