Variation in the H3+ emission of uranus

Hoanh A.N. Lam, Steven Miler, Robert D. Joseph, Thomas R. Geballe, Laurence M. Trafton, Jonathan Tennyson, Gilda E. Ballester

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29 Scopus citations


Infrared images of Uranus, obtained in 1993 April, at wavelengths sensitive to the H3+ molecular ion, are presented. These show that spatial variation in the emission from the planet is discernible. Comparison with magnetic field modeling of Uranus indicates that sources of this variation may include auroral activity and other features, but the images show that the spatial variation is more limited than in the case of Jupiter. This conclusion is born out by spectra obtained on four consecutive nights during 1995 June, which show that the overall temporal variability of the H3+ emission is ∼20%. Comparison of the 1995 June spectra with data obtained in 1992, and the 1993 images, shows that the overall brightness of H3+ emission of Uranus can vary by a factor of 2 on a timescale of years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L73-L76
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART II
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmospheric effects
  • Infrared: solar system
  • Planets and satellites: individual (Uranus)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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