Morphology and time variability of Io's visible aurora

P. E. Geissler, W. H. Smyth, A. S. McEwen, W. Ip, M. J.S. Belton, T. V. Johnson, A. P. Ingersoll, K. Rages, W. Hubbard, A. J. Dessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Clear-filter imaging of Io during the Galileo nominal and extended missions recorded diffuse auroral emissions in 16 distinct observations taken during 14 separate eclipses over a two year period. These images show that the morphology and time variability of the visible aurora have several similarities to Io's far ultraviolet emissions. The orbital leading hemisphere of Io is consistently brighter than the trailing hemisphere, probably due to a greater concentration of torus electrons in the wake region of the satellite. The locations of the polar limb glow and the bright equatorial glows appear to correlate with Io's System III longitude. Unlike the far ultraviolet emissions, the visible aurorae are enhanced near actively venting volcanic plumes, probably because of molecular emission by SO2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000JA002511
Pages (from-to)26137-26146
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue numberA11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2001


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