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Variation of Saturn's UV aurora with SKR phase

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • J. D. Nichols
  • B. Cecconi
  • J. T. Clarke
  • S. W. H. Cowley
  • J.-c. Gérard
  • A. Grocott
  • D. Grodent
  • L. Lamy
  • P. Zarka
Article numberL15102
Journal publication date6/08/2010
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Number of pages5
Original languageEnglish


It is well known that a wide range of kronian magnetospheric phenomena, including the Saturn kilometric radiation (SKR), exhibit oscillations near the planetary rotation period. However, although the SKR is believed to be generated by unstable auroral electrons, no connection has been established to date between diurnal SKR modulations and UV auroral power. We use an empirical SKR phase determined from Cassini observations to order the ‘quiet time’ total emitted UV auroral power as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in programs during the interval 2005–2009. Our results indicate that both the northern and southern UV powers are dependent on SKR phase, varying diurnally by factors of ∼3. We also show that the UV variation originates principally from the morning half of the oval, consistent with previous observations of the SKR sources.

Bibliographic note

Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.