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Dynamic auroral storms on Saturn as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

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  • J. D. Nichols
  • S. V. Badman
  • K. H. Baines
  • R. H. Brown
  • E. J. Bunce
  • J. T. Clarke
  • S. W. H. Cowley
  • F. J. Crary
  • M. K. Dougherty
  • J.-C. Gerard
  • Adrian Grocott
  • Denis Grodent
  • W.S. Kurth
  • Henrik Melin
  • D. G. Mitchell
  • W. R. Pryor
  • T. S. Stallard
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/05/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Geophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
Volume41
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)3323-3330
<mark>State</mark>Published
Early online date20/05/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

We present observations of significant dynamics within two UV auroral storms observed on Saturn using the Hubble Space Telescope in April/May 2013. Specifically, we discuss bursts of auroral emission observed at the poleward boundary of a solar wind-induced auroral storm, propagating at ∼330% rigid corotation from near ∼01 h LT toward ∼08 h LT. We suggest that these are indicative of ongoing, bursty reconnection of lobe flux in the magnetotail, providing strong evidence that Saturn’s auroral storms are caused by large-scale flux closure. We also discuss the later evolution of a similar storm and show that the emission maps to the trailing region of an energetic neutral atom enhancement. We thus identify the auroral form with the upward field-aligned continuity currents flowing into the associated partial ring current.

Bibliographic note

©2014. The Authors.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.