Dynamic features of Io's extended sodium distributions

S. Takahashi, H. Misawa, H. Nozawa, A. Morioka, S. Okano, R. Sood

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2 Citations (Scopus)


We report on two-dimensional imaging observations of D-line emissions from the extended distribution of iogenic sodium atoms with two fields of view (±20 RJ (narrow FOV) and ±400 RJ (wide FOV)) simultaneously by using a portable small telescope or camera lens. We derived dynamic feature of the band-shaped and spray-shaped distributions near Io's orbit by means of continuous observation. The observations confirm the phenomenological behavior of the sodium cloud on two spatial scales, as previously observed by Pilcher et al. [Pilcher, C.B., Smyth, W.H., Combi, M.R., Fertel, J.H., 1984. Astrophys. J. 287, 427-444], Schneider et al. [Schneider, N.M., Trauger, J.T., Wilson, J.K., Brown, D.I., Evans, R.W., Shemansky, D.E., 1991. Science 253, 1394-1397], and Mendillo et al. [Mendillo, M., Baumgartner, J., Flynn, B., Hughes, W.S., 1990. Nature 348, 312-314]. We also confirm an elongated oval emission distribution of the sodium nebula and derivation of its detailed east-west asymmetry depending on Io's phase angle, which was first noted by Flynn et al. [Flynn, B., Mendillo, M., Baumgartner, J., 1994. J. Geophys. Res. 99, 8403-8409]. We then did model analyses to investigate the source process for sodium atoms and the dynamics behind their distribution. We conclude that the essential of molecular ion mechanisms to the band-shaped distribution is in agreement with Wilson and Schneider [Wilson, J.K., Schneider, N.M., 1999. J. Geophys. Res. 104, 16567-16583]. We differ from Wilson et al. [Wilson, J.K., Mendillo, M., Baumgartner, J., Schneider, N.M., Trauger, J.T., Flynn, B., 2002. Icarus 157, 476-489] in finding that charge exchange process contributes more to the spray-shaped distribution and sodium nebula than sputtering does. These results derived the double-peaked velocity distribution of released sodium atoms, and re-confirmed the source rates in agreement with past studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-359
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Nov 15


  • Atmospheres
  • Io
  • Jupiter
  • Magnetosphere
  • Satellites


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