The auroral footprint of Enceladus on Saturn
Abbreviated Journal Title
IO FLUX TUBE; CASSINI; ATMOSPHERE; MAGNETOSPHERE; SPECTROMETER; JUPITER; ORIGIN; PLASMA; PLUME; Multidisciplinary Sciences
Although there are substantial differences between the magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn, it has been suggested that cryovolcanic activity at Enceladus(1-9) could lead to electrodynamic coupling between Enceladus and Saturn like that which links Jupiter with Io, Europa and Ganymede. Powerful field-aligned electron beams associated with the Io-Jupiter coupling, for example, create an auroral footprint in Jupiter's ionosphere(10,11). Auroral ultraviolet emission associated with Enceladus-Saturn coupling is anticipated to be just a few tenths of a kilorayleigh (ref. 12), about an order of magnitude dimmer than Io's footprint and below the observable threshold, consistent with its non-detection(13). Here we report the detection of magnetic-field-aligned ion and electron beams (offset several moon radii downstream from Enceladus) with sufficient power to stimulate detectable aurora, and the subsequent discovery of Enceladus-associated aurora in a few per cent of the scans of the moon's footprint. The footprint varies in emission magnitude more than can plausibly be explained by changes in magnetospheric parameters-and as such is probably indicative of variable plume activity.
"The auroral footprint of Enceladus on Saturn" (2011). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 1781.