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Observing Flares from Jupiter's Aurora

Press Release From: American Geophysical Union
Posted: Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jupiter's aurora often emits dramatic flares of ultraviolet light lasting several tens of seconds. Bonfond et al. capture high-time-resolution image sequences of the flares using the Space Telescope Image Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The authors find that these flares occur quasi-periodically, with a time scale of about 2 to 3 minutes. They also identify the magnetospheric region that corresponds to these emissions, and by analogy with similar flares on Earth, they determine that the flares are probably related to pulsed reconnections of the magnetic field at the planet's dayside magnetopause (boundary where the planet's magnetic field meets the solar wind of particles flowing from the Sun).

Title: Quasi-periodic polar flares at Jupiter: A signature of pulsed dayside reconnections?

Authors: B. Bonfond: Laboratoire de Physique Atmospherique et Planetaire, Universite de Liege, Liege, Belgium; and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA; M. F. Vogt: Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA; and Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA; J.-C. Gerard, D. Grodent, A. Radioti, and V. Coumans: Laboratoire de Physique Atmospherique et Planetaire, Universite de Liege, Liege, Belgium.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL045981, 2011 http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010GL045981

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