Sodium in the Jovian magnetosphere

Yu Mekler*, A. Eviatar, F. V. Coroniti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Observations of sodium D-line emission from Io and the magnetosphere of Jupiter are reported. A disk-shaped cloud of sodium is found to exist in the Jovian magnetosphere with an inner edge at about 4 Rch{cyrillic} and an outer edge at about 10 Rch{cyrillic}. The gravitational scale height above the equatorial plane is a few Jovian radii. The data are interpreted in terms of a sputtering model, in which the sodium required to maintain the cloud is sputtered off the surface of Io by trapped energetic radiation-belt protons. Conditions on the atmospheric density are obtained. The Keplerian orbits attainable by such escaping sputtered atoms can provide the observed spatial distribution. The required 500-keV proton flux required to provide the 1-10 keV protons which will sputter the sodium at the surface of Io is consistent with the limiting trapped flux determined by ion-cyclotron turbulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysics and Space Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1976


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