Plasma wave characteristics of the Jovian magnetopause boundary layer: Relationship to the Jovian aurora?

Bruce T. Tsurutani, John K. Arballo, Bruce E. Goldstein, Christian M. Ho, Gurbax S. Lakhina, Edward J. Smith, Nicole Cornilleau-Wehrlin, Renée Prangé, Naiguo Lin, Paul Kellogg, John L. Phillips, Andre Balogh, Norbert Krupp, Mark Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The Jovian magnetopause boundary layer (BL) plasma wave spectra from 10-3 to 102 Hz have been measured for the first time. For one intense event the magnetic (B′) and electric (E′) spectra were 2 × 10-4 f-2.4 nT2/Hz and 4 × 10-9 f-2.4 V2/m2 Hz, respectively. Although no measurable wave amplitudes were detected above the electron gyrofrequency, ∼140 Hz, this finding may be due to the low signal strength characteristic of this region. The B′/E′ ratio is relatively frequency independent. It is possible that waves are obliquely propagating whistler mode waves. The B′ and E′ spectra are broadband with no obvious spectral peaks. The waves are sufficiently intense to cause cross-field diffusion of magnetosheath plasma to create the BL itself. A Jovian BL thickness of 10,700 km is predicted, which is consistent with past in situ measurements. The Jovian boundary layer wave properties are quite similar to the BL waves at Earth (however, the Jovian waves are orders of magnitude less intense). It appears that the solar wind/magnetosphere dynamos at the two planets are similar enough to be consistent with a common wave generation mechanism. The predicted ionospheric latitudinal width of the BL of ∼100-200 km is quite similar to the Jovian auroral high-latitude ring measured by Hubble. The location of the BL at and inside the foot point of the last closed field line may place the boundary layer and the aurora on approximately the same magnetic field lines. The Jovian BL waves are sufficiently intense to cause strong pitch angle diffusion for <5-keV electrons and 1-keV to 1-MeV protons. The estimated energy precipitation rate from this interaction <1 erg cm-2 s-1, sufficient for a weak high-latitude auroral ring. This intensity is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude too low to cause the main aurora ring, however. If it is found that this main aurora maps into the boundary layer, then other mechanisms such as (ionospheric) double layers must be responsible for the particle energization and precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number96JA02785
Pages (from-to)4751-4764
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics
Issue numberA3
StatePublished - 1997

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