The Jovian Nebula: A Post-Voyager Perspective

Science  19 Oct 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4672, pp. 337-341
DOI: 10.1126/science.226.4672.337


Voyager 1 carried a diverse collection of magnetospheric probes through the inner Jovian magnetosphere in March 1979. The ensuing data analysis and theoretical investigation provided a comprehensive description of the Jovian nebula, a luminous torus populated with newly released heavy ions drawn from Io's surface. Recent refinements in Earth-based imaging instrumentation are used to extend the Voyager in situ picture in temporal and spatial coverage. An analysis of [SIII] and [SII] optical emissions observed during the Jovian apparitions of 1981 through 1983 reveals three distinct torus components. Regularities have been identified in the ion partitioning and ion densities in the hot outer and inner tori, sharply defined radial structure is found in the plasma near Io, and the relative permanence of the cool inner torus is inferred. An extended cloud of neutral material is required as a source of fresh ions in the nebula.

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