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Published December 20, 2001 | Published
Journal Article Open

Mutual Event Observations of Io's Sodium Corona


We have measured the column density profile of Io's sodium corona using 10 mutual eclipses between the Galilean satellites. This approach circumvents the problem of spatially resolving Io's corona directly from Io's bright continuum in the presence of atmospheric seeing and telescopic scattering. The primary goal is to investigate the spatial and temporal variations of Io's corona. Spectra from the Keck Observatory and McDonald Observatory from 1997 reveal a corona that is only approximately spherically symmetric around Io. Comparing the globally averaged radial sodium column density profile in the corona with profiles measured in 1991 and 1985, we find that there has been no significant variation. However, there appears to be a previously undetected asymmetry: the corona above Io's sub-Jupiter hemisphere is consistently more dense than above the anti-Jupiter hemisphere.

Additional Information

© 2001 American Astronomical Society. Received 2000 October 6; accepted 2001 August 17.

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