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Journal Articles (Review Article) Icarus Year : 2023

Ganymede's atmosphere as constrained by HST/STIS observations

François Leblanc
Jean-Yves Chaufray
Ronan Modolo
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  • PersonId : 916163
M. Galand
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  • PersonId : 989465
Claire Baskevitch
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  • PersonId : 1125572
A. Oza
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A new analysis of aurora observations of Ganymede's atmosphere on the orbital leading and trailing hemispheres has been recently published by Roth et al. (2021), suggesting that water is its main constituent near noon. Here, we present two additional aurora observations of Ganymede's sub-Jovian and anti-Jovian hemispheres, which suggest a modulation of the atmospheric H2O/O2 ratio on the moon's orbital period, and analyze the orbital evolution of the atmosphere. For this, we propose a reconstruction of aurora observations based on a physical modelling of the exosphere taking into account its orbital variability (the Exospheric Global Model; Leblanc et al., 2017). The solution described in this paper agrees with Roth et al. (2021) that Ganymede's exosphere should be dominantly composed of water molecules. From Ganymede's position when its leading hemisphere is illuminated to when it is its trailing hemisphere, the column density of O2 may vary between 4.3 × 1014 and 3.6 × 1014 cm−2 whereas the H2O column density should vary between 5.6 × 1014 and 1.3 × 1015 cm−2. The water content of Ganymede's atmosphere is essentially constrained by its sublimation rate whereas the O2 component of Ganymede's atmosphere is controlled by the radiolytic yield. The other species, products of the water molecules, vary in a more complex way depending on their sources, either as ejecta from the surface and/or as product of the dissociation of the other atmospheric constituents. Electron impact on H2O and H2 molecules is shown to likely produce H Lyman-alpha emissions close to Ganymede, in addition to the observed extended Lyman-alpha corona from H resonant scattering. All these conclusions being highly dependent on our capability to accurately model the origins of the observed Ganymede auroral emissions, modelling these emissions remains poorly constrained without an accurate knowledge of the Jovian magnetospheric and Ganymede ionospheric electron populations.
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Dates and versions

insu-04056918 , version 1 (03-04-2023)



François Leblanc, L. Roth, Jean-Yves Chaufray, Ronan Modolo, M. Galand, et al.. Ganymede's atmosphere as constrained by HST/STIS observations. Icarus, 2023, 399, pp.115557. ⟨10.1016/j.icarus.2023.115557⟩. ⟨insu-04056918⟩
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