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22 September 2005 X-ray probes of Jupiter's auroral zones, Galilean moons, and the Io plasma torus
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Remote observations from the Earth orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory and the XMM-Newton Observatory have shown the the Jovian system is a rich and complex source of x-ray emission. The planet's auroral zones and its disk are powerful sources of x-ray emission, though with different origins. Chandra observations discovered x-ray emission from the Io plasma torus and from the Galilean moons Io, Europa, and possibly Ganymede. The emission from the moons is due to bombardment of their surfaces by highly energetic magnetospheric protons, and oxygen and sulfur ions, producing fluorescent x-ray emission lines from the elements in their surfaces against an intense background continuum. Although very faint when observed from Earth orbit, an imaging x-ray spectrometer in orbit around the icy Galilean moons would provide a detail mapping of the elemental composition in their surfaces. Here we examine the necessary characteristics of such an instrument and the challenges it would face in the extreme radiation environment in which it would have to survive and operate. Such an instrument would have the ultimate goal of providing detailed high-resolution maps of the elemental abundances of the surfaces of Jupiter's icy moons and Io, as well as detailed study of the x-ray mission from the Io plasma torus, Jupiter's auroral zones, and the planetary disk.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
R. F. Elsner, B. D. Ramsey, D. A. Swartz, J. A Gaskin, P. Rehak, J. H. Waite Jr., J. F. Cooper, and R. E. Johnson "X-ray probes of Jupiter's auroral zones, Galilean moons, and the Io plasma torus", Proc. SPIE 5906, Astrobiology and Planetary Missions, 59061B (22 September 2005);


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