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Title: Identification of Jupiter's magnetic equator within H3+ ionospheric emission
Authors: Stallard, Tom S.
Burrell, Angeline G.
Melin, Henrik
Fletcher, Leigh N.
Miller, Steve
Moore, Luke
O'Donoghue, James
Connerney, John E. P.
Satoh, Takehiko
Johnson, Rosie E.
First Published: 23-Jul-2018
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Citation: Nature Astronomy, 2018
Abstract: Our understanding of Jupiter’s magnetic field has been developed through a combination of spacecraft measurements at distances >1.8 RJ and images of the aurora (1–7). These models all agree on the strength and direction of the jovian dipole magnetic moments, but, because higher order magnetic moments decay more strongly with distance from the planet, past spacecraft measurements could not easily resolve them. In the past two years, the Juno mission has measured very close to the planet (>1.05 RJ), observing a strongly enhanced localized magnetic field in some orbits (8-9) and resulting in models that identify strong hemispheric asymmetries at mid-to-high latitudes (10, 11). These features could be better resolved by identifying changes in ionospheric density caused by interactions with the magnetic field, but past observations have been unable to spatially resolve such features (12–14). In this study, we identify a dark sinusoidal ribbon of weakened H3+ emission near the jovigraphic equator, which we show to be an ionospheric signature of Jupiter’s magnetic equator. We also observe complex structures in Jupiter’s mid-latitude ionosphere, including one dark spot that is coincident with a localized enhancement in Jupiter’s radial magnetic field observed recently by Juno (10). These features reveal evidence of complex localized interactions between Jupiter’s ionosphere and its magnetic field. Our results provide ground-truth for Juno spacecraft observations and future ionospheric and magnetic field models
DOI Link: 10.1038/s41550-018-0523-z
eISSN: 2397-3366
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2018, Nature Publishing Group. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. (
Description: The data used in this study was originally released as the Magnetospheres of the Outer Planets Infrared Data Archive. It was recently re-archived (23) at and has the DOI: 10.7910/DVN/KVQWNJ
The file associated with this record is under embargo until 6 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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