The plasma plumes of Europa and Callisto

Aharon Eviatar*, Chris Paranicas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We investigate the proposition that Europa and Callisto emit plasma plumes, i.e., a contiguous body of ionospheric plasma, extended in the direction of the corotation flow, analogous to the plume of smoke emitted in the downwind direction from a smokestack. Such plumes were seen by Voyager 1 to be emitted by Titan. We find support for this proposition in published data from Galileo Plasma Science and Plasma Wave observations taken in the corotation wakes of both moons and from magnetometer measurements reported from near the orbit of, but away from, Europa itself. This lends credence to the hypothesis that the plumes escaping from the ionospheres of Europa and Callisto are wrapped around Jupiter by corotation, survive against dispersion for a fairly long time and are convected radially by magnetospheric motions. We present simple models of plume acceleration and compare the plumes of the Europa and Callisto to the known plumes of Titan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-366
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2005


FundersFunder number
Geospace sciences program
National Aeronautics and Space Administration


    • Callisto
    • Europa
    • Jupiter
    • Magnetosphere
    • Satellites of Jupiter


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