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Europa’s Plasma Environment as Viewed by Juno

Presentation #501.01 in the session Icy Galilean Satellites: Magnetosphere and Exosphere (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Europa’s Plasma Environment as Viewed by Juno

We present plasma ion and electron measurements near Europa during the Juno flyby on September 30, 2022. Magnetospheric protons and heavy ions are slowed and deflected around the icy satellite, their flow speeds reaching a minimum within the plasma wake and being largest at the plasma wake boundaries. The proton, light ion (primarily H2+), and heavy ion densities all increase relative to jovian plasma disk values within Europa’s wake. The proton and H2+ densities peak near closest approach, while the heavy ion densities peak near the center of the wake. Ion distributions in the wake contain a significant fraction of Europa-genic pickup ions, mainly H2+ and O2+, while magnetospheric plasma is shielded from the wake center. These ion composition measurements provide constraints on the extent that magnetospheric material can penetrate Europa’s downstream region. Electrons have enhanced, field-aligned fluxes at the plasma wake boundaries, the > 0.5 keV/q electrons in Jupiter’s plasma disk being shielded from the wake. We discuss the implications of these observations on understanding Europa’s space environment and its interaction with Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

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