Evidence for global electron transportation into the jovian inner magnetosphere

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Science  26 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6204, pp. 1581-1584
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256259

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Hot electron plasma moves in from Io

Scientists have known that solar radiation ionizes the gases from Io's volcanoes to create a torus of plasma around Jupiter, but how that plasma moves is unclear. To investigate this, Yoshioka et al. monitored the temperature of the hot electron plasma as a function of distance from the planet with the Hisaki Earth-orbiting satellite. The fraction of hot electrons decreases only gradually with distance from Jupiter, which implies a rapid resupply of these electrons from outside Io's orbit.

Science, this issue p. 1581


Jupiter’s magnetosphere is a strong particle accelerator that contains ultrarelativistic electrons in its inner part. They are thought to be accelerated by whistler-mode waves excited by anisotropic hot electrons (>10 kiloelectron volts) injected from the outer magnetosphere. However, electron transportation in the inner magnetosphere is not well understood. By analyzing the extreme ultraviolet line emission from the inner magnetosphere, we show evidence for global inward transport of flux tubes containing hot plasma. High-spectral-resolution scanning observations of the Io plasma torus in the inner magnetosphere enable us to generate radial profiles of the hot electron fraction. It gradually decreases with decreasing radial distance, despite the short collisional time scale that should thermalize them rapidly. This indicates a fast and continuous resupply of hot electrons responsible for exciting the whistler-mode waves.

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