Molecular Origin of Io's Fast Sodium.

Academic Article


  • Neutral sodium emissions encircling Jupiter exhibit an intricate and variable structure that is well matched by a simple loss process from Io's atmosphere. These observations imply that fast neutral sodium is created locally in the Io plasma torus, both near Io and as much as 8 hours downstream. Sodium-bearing molecules may be present in Io's upper atmosphere, where they are ionized by the plasma torus and swept downstream. The molecular ions dissociate and dissociatively recombine on a short time scale, releasing neutral fragments into escape trajectories from Jupiter. This theory explains a diverse set of sodium observations, and it implies that molecular reactions (particularly electron impact ionization and dissociation) are important at the top of Io's atmosphere.
  • Authors

  • Schneider, NM
  • Trauger, JT
  • Wilson, Jody
  • Brown, DI
  • Evans, RW
  • Shemansky, DE
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 20, 1991
  • Published In

  • Science  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 17793479
  • Start Page

  • 1394
  • End Page

  • 1397
  • Volume

  • 253
  • Issue

  • 5026