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Jovian dust streams: Probes of the Io plasma torus

By Harald Krüger and Eberhard Grün


Jupiter was discovered to be a source of high speed dust particles by the Ulysses spacecraft in 1992. These dust particles originate from the volcanic plumes on Io. They collect electrostatic charges from the plasma environment, gain energy from the co-rotating electric field of the magnetosphere, and leave Jupiter with escape speeds over 200 kms −1. The dust streams were also observed by the Galileo and Cassini spacecraft. While Ulysses and Cassini only had a single encounter with Jupiter, Galileo has continuously monitored the dust streams in the Jovian magnetosphere since 1996. The observed dust fluxes exhibit large orbit-to-orbit variability due to both systematic and stochastic changes. By combining the entire data set, the variability due to stochatic processes can be approximately removed and a strong variation with Jovian local time is found. This result is consistent with theoretical expectations and confirms that the majority of the Jovian dust stream particles originate from Io rather than other potential sources. 1

Year: 2003
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