Thursday, January 17, 2013

1301.3813 (Andrew J. Steffl et al.)

Cassini UVIS observations of the Io plasma torus. II. Radial variations    [PDF]

Andrew J. Steffl, Fran Bagenal, A. Ian F. Stewart
On January 14, 2001, shortly after the Cassini spacecraft's closest approach to Jupiter, the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (UVIS) made a radial scan through the midnight sector of Io plasma torus. The Io torus has not been previously observed at this local time. The UVIS data consist of 2-D spectrally dispersed images of the Io plasma torus in the wavelength range of 561{\AA}-1912{\AA}. We developed a spectral emissions model that incorporates the latest atomic physics data contained in the CHIANTI database in order to derive the composition of the torus plasma as a function of radial distance. Electron temperatures derived from the UVIS torus spectra are generally less than those observed during the Voyager era. We find the torus ion composition derived from the UVIS spectra to be significantly different from the composition during the Voyager era. Notably, the torus contains substantially less oxygen, with a total oxygen-to-sulfur ion ratio of 0.9. The average ion charge state has increased to 1.7. We detect S V in the Io torus at the 3{\sigma} level. S V has a mixing ratio of 0.5%. The spectral emission model used in can approximate the effects of a non-thermal distribution of electrons. The ion composition derived using a kappa distribution of electrons is identical to that derived using a Maxwellian electron distribution; however, the kappa distribution model requires a higher electron column density to match the observed brightness of the spectra. The derived value of the kappa parameter decreases with radial distance and is consistent with the value of {\kappa}=2.4 at 8 RJ derived by the Ulysses URAP instrument (Meyer-Vernet et al., 1995). The observed radial profile of electron column density is consistent with a flux tube content, NL^2, that is proportional to r^-2.
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