Longitude dependences of Saturn's ultraviolet aurora

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Abstract

[1] Based on periodicities in the kilometric radio emissions, the Saturn Longitude System 4 (SLS4) was used to organize the far ultraviolet (120–150 nm) aurora observed by the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph on the Cassini spacecraft. Individual Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph pixels were projected onto the ionosphere of Saturn, transformed into the SLS4 north and SLS4 south longitude systems, accumulated over all over auroral observations from 2007 to early 2009, and binned into 1°×1° bins of colatitude. The intensity of the northern aurora showed little variation in its SLS4 north system, but the intensity of the southern aurora exhibited an enhancement of over ~10 kR between ~140–280° SLS4 south longitude. This enhancement may represent the auroral signature of a southern ionospheric vortex proposed in MHD models of Saturn's magnetosphere to explain its periodicities. The loci of the northern intensity peaks and the 3 kR boundaries varied little over 360° of longitude, while the equatorward boundary of the southern aurora varied by ~5° in SLS4 south longitude, reaching its most equatorward location of ~23° colatitude between 100° and 180° longitude. The polygonal centroids of the aurora in both north and south were consistent with offsets of no more than ~1° in both hemispheres.

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