Images of Excited H sub 3 sup plus at the Foot of the Io Flux Tube in Jupiter's Atmosphere

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The electrodynamic interaction between Io and the Jovian magnetosphere drives currents to and from the planet's ionosphere, where H3plus emission is excited.Direct images of this phenomenon were obtained with the ProtoCAM infrared camera at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's 3-m Infrared Telescope Facility. The emissions are localized to the instantaneous foot of the Io flux tube, approximate equal 8 degrees equatorward of the more intense auroral H3plus emission associated with higher magnetic latitudes. The foot of the Io flux tube leads that of (undisturbed) model magnetic field lines passing through Io by 15 degrees to 20 degrees in longitude and is less visible in the northern hemisphere at longitudes where the surface magnetic field strength is greatest. These data favor the unipolar inductor model of the Io interaction and provide insight into the source location and generation of Jovian decameter radio emission.

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