Mid-to-low latitude H+3emission from Jupiter

Steven Miller, Nicholas Achilleos, Gilda E. Ballester, Hoanh An Lam, Jonathan Tennyson, Thomas R. Geballe, Laurence M. Trafton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


We present measurements of the mid-to-low latitude H+3emission from Jupiter, derived from a spectroscopic study of the planet carried out on the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, on May 3-5, 1993. The measurements indicate ionospheric H+3temperatures ~800 K and column densities of the order of 1011cm-2. The emission levels depend strongly on latitude and longitude, but are generally of the order of 10-1erg s-1cm-2, indicating that the cooling effect of H+3is a significant factor in the ionosphere. These emission levels also strongly suggest either that aurorally produced H+3is being transported to nonauroral latitudes or that sources in addition to solar EUV are required to produce the ionisation and excitation energy necessary to account for the observed H+3emission. This view is supported by comparing the emission profiles as a function of latitude with those obtained from a jovian global circulation model which has auroral electron precipitation and solar EUV as ionisation inputs. The spatial distribution of H+3emission suggests that this ion may be a useful probe of Jupiter's magnetic field at subauroral latitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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