Self-consistent multifluid MHD simulations of Europa's exospheric interaction with Jupiter's magnetosphere

Rubin, Martin; Jia, X.; Altwegg, Kathrin; Combi, M. R.; Daldorff, L. K. S.; Gombosi, T. I.; Khurana, K.; Kivelson, M. G.; Tenishev, V. M.; Tóth, G.; van der Holst, B.; Wurz, Peter (2015). Self-consistent multifluid MHD simulations of Europa's exospheric interaction with Jupiter's magnetosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 120(5), pp. 3503-3524. AGU Publications 10.1002/2015JA021149

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The Jovian moon, Europa, hosts a thin neutral gas atmosphere, which is tightly coupled to Jupiter's magnetosphere. Magnetospheric ions impacting the surface sputter off neutral atoms, which, upon ionization, carry currents that modify the magnetic field around the moon. The magnetic field in the plasma is also affected by Europa's induced magnetic field. In this paper we investigate the environment of Europa using our multifluid MHD model and focus on the effects introduced by both the magnetospheric and the pickup ion populations. The model self-consistently derives the electron temperature that governs the electron impact ionization process, which is the major source of ionization in this environment. The resulting magnetic field is compared to measurements performed by the Galileo magnetometer, the bulk properties of the modeled thermal plasma population is compared to the Galileo Plasma Subsystem observations, and the modeled surface precipitation fluxes are compared to Galileo Ultraviolet Spectrometer observations. The model shows good agreement with the measured magnetic field and reproduces the basic features of the plasma interaction observed at the moon for both the E4 and the E26 flybys of the Galileo spacecraft. The simulation also produces perturbations asymmetric about the flow direction that account for observed asymmetries.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Rubin, Martin; Altwegg, Kathrin and Wurz, Peter


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




AGU Publications




Martin Rubin

Date Deposited:

10 Jun 2016 14:55

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2016 14:55

Publisher DOI:





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