Physics & Astronomy Colloquium - Robert W. Ebert, Ph.D., Southwest Research Institute, The University of Texas at San Antonio
"Unlocking the Physics of Jupiter's Aurora Through Observations from the JADE Plasma Instrument on NASA's Juno Mission" by Robert W. Ebert, Ph.D., Southwest Research Institute, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Abstract: NASA’s Juno mission is a polar orbiting spacecraft whose primary science goals are to study Jupiter’s origin, interior structure, atmosphere, polar magnetosphere, and aurora. As the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter’s poles, Juno is providing in situ observations of the electrons and ions that precipitate into Jupiter’s upper atmosphere while remotely observing the auroral emissions that they produce. This interaction generates the strongest auroral emissions in our solar system, up to several mega-Rayleighs in the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum. In this presentation, we will provide a physical description of Jupiter’s magnetosphere and motivate the need for plasma measurements to understand the physical processes driving Jupiter’s UV aurora. We will describe the electron and ion instruments from the Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE) on Juno and highlight key plasma observations from JADE that have advanced our understanding of Jupiter’s polar magnetosphere and aurora. We will conclude with a discussion on future opportunities where plasma instruments can be used to advance our physical understanding of planetary magnetospheres.