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Chandra Observation of an X-ray Flare at Saturn: Evidence for Direct Solar Control on Saturn's Disk X-ray Emissions

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2005

image Astrophysics, abstract
astro-ph/0504110

From: Anil Bhardwaj [view email]
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2005 14:33:34 GMT   (686kb)
Chandra Observation of an X-ray Flare at Saturn: Evidence for Direct Solar Control on Saturn's Disk X-ray Emissions
Authors: Anil Bhardwaj, Ronald F. Elsner, J. Hunter Waite Jr, G. Randall Gladstone, Thomas E. Cravens, Peter G. Ford
Comments: Total 12 pages including 4 figures
Saturn was observed by Chandra ACIS-S on 20 and 26-27 January 2004 for one full Saturn rotation (10.7 hr) at each epoch. We report here the first observation of an X-ray flare from Saturn's non-auroral (low-latitude) disk, which is seen in direct response to an M6-class flare emanating from a sunspot that was clearly visible from both Saturn and Earth. Saturn's disk X-ray emissions are found to be variable on time scales of hours to weeks to months, and correlated with solar F10.7 cm flux. Unlike Jupiter, X-rays from Saturn's polar (auroral) region have characteristics similar to those from its disk. This report, combined with earlier studies, establishes that disk X-ray emissions of the giant planets Saturn and Jupiter are directly regulated by processes happening on the Sun. We suggest that these emissions could be monitored to study X-ray flaring from solar active regions when they are on the far side and not visible to Near-Earth space weather satellites.
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