Thursday, July 18, 2013

1307.4675 (L. Lamy et al.)

Multi-spectral simultaneous diagnosis of Saturns aurorae throughout a planetary rotation    [PDF]

L. Lamy, R. Prangé, W. Pryor, J. Gustin, S. V. Badman, H. Melin, T. Stallard, D. G. Mitchell, P. C. Brandt
From the 27th to the 28th January 2009, the Cassini spacecraft remotely acquired combined observations of Saturns southern aurorae at radio, ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths, while monitoring ion injections in the middle magnetosphere from energetic neutral atoms. Simultaneous measurements included the sampling of a full planetary rotation, a relevant timescale to investigate auroral emissions driven by processes internal to the magnetosphere. In addition, this interval coincidently matched a powerful substorm-like event in the magnetotail, which induced an overall dawnside intensification of the magnetospheric and auroral activity. We comparatively analyze this unique set of measurements to reach a comprehensive view of kronian auroral processes over the investigated timescale. We identify three source regions in atmospheric aurorae, including a main oval associated with the bulk of Saturn Kilometric Radiation (SKR), together with polar and equatorward emissions. These observations reveal the co-existence of corotational and sub-corototational dynamics of emissions associated with the main auroral oval. Precisely, we show that the atmospheric main oval hosts short-lived sub-corotating isolated features together with a bright, longitudinally extended, corotating region locked at the southern SKR phase. We assign the susbtorm-like event to a regular, internally driven, nightside ion injection possibly triggerred by a plasmoid ejection. We also investigate the total auroral energy budget, from the power input to the atmosphere, characterized by precipitating electrons up to 20 keV, to its dissipation through the various radiating processes. Finally, through simulations, we confirm the search-light nature of the SKR rotational modulation and we show that SKR arcs relate to isolated auroral spots. The resulting findings are discussed in the frame of pending questions.
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