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Dusk-brightening event in Saturn's H-3(+) aurora

Stallard, T; Miller, S; Lystrup, M; Achilleos, N; Arridge, C; Dougherty, M; (2008) Dusk-brightening event in Saturn's H-3(+) aurora. ASTROPHYS J LETT , 673 (2) L203 - L206.

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Abstract

We report on a unique dusk-brightening event within Saturn's aurorae. Measurements of the H-3(+) infrared aurora using the CSHELL instrument on NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), made in 2005 December, show an auroral intensity structure unlike anything previously detected. The aurora has a significantly brighter dusk sector over three Earth nights, a period in excess of 5 Saturnian days, suggesting a consistent source for this emission, stable in position within the magnetosphere. However, unlike previously detected dawn-brightening events, the overall auroral brightness remains low and the ion wind structure appears unaffected. Using the location of magnetopause crossings as a proxy for the solar wind pressure, the solar wind appears to be exceptionally rarefied. This leads us to conclude that the dusk-brightening event is strongly linked with the unusual solar wind conditions at the time of the observations.

Type:Article
Title:Dusk-brightening event in Saturn's H-3(+) aurora
Keywords:atmospheric effects, infrared : solar system, planets and satellites : individual (Saturn), INFRARED-EMISSION, PLASMA-FLOW
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Science and Technology Studies
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Space and Climate Physics

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