Simple ray tracing of Galileo-observed hectometric attenuation features


  • Charles A. Higgins,

  • James R. Thieman,

  • Shing F. Fung,

  • James L. Green,

  • Robert M. Candey


Observations of persistent structural features within Jovian hectometric (HOM) radio emission have been made with the Galileo spacecraft. Two well-defined sinusoidal-shaped “band” features of reduced emission intensity and occurrence probability exist at all Jovian longitudes and nearly cover the entire spectrum of HOM radio emission from ∼500 kHz to 3000 kHz. These two sinusoidal lanes have a bandwidth of 200–400 kHz and are 180° out of phase with one another, suggesting that they are a result of HOM radio emission propagation processes from opposite hemispheres. These features become more apparent when presented as intensity or occurrence probability spectrograms added together over multiple Jovian rotations. Enhancements in the HOM intensity and occurrence are seen along the edges of one of the observed sinusoidal lane features which may indicate caustic surfaces due to refraction along the propagation path. We present some simple ray tracing analyses to show that refraction from density enhancements in the Io torus flux tube may explain some of the observations. Using this simple method, we approximate the density enhancements in the Io flux tube to be 100 cm−3.