Magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling in Jupiter's middle magnetosphere: Computations including a self-consistent current sheet magnetic field model
journal contributionposted on 02.07.2012, 14:40 by Jonathan D. Nichols
In this paper we consider the effect of a self-consistently computed magnetodisc field structure on the magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling current system at Jupiter. We find that the azimuthal current intensity, and thus the stretching of the magnetic field lines, is dependent on the magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling current system parameters, i.e., the ionospheric Pedersen conductivity and iogenic plasma mass outflow rate. Overall, however, the equatorial magnetic field profiles obtained are similar in the inner region to those used previously, such that the currents are of the same order as previous solutions obtained using a fixed empirical equatorial field strength model, although the outer fringing field of the current disc acts to reverse the field-aligned current in the outer region. We also find that while the azimuthal current in the inner region is dominated by hot plasma pressure, as is generally held to be the case for Jupiter, the use of a realistic plasma angular velocity profile actually results in the centrifugal current becoming dominant in the outer magnetosphere. In addition, despite the dependence of the intensity of the azimuthal current on the magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling current system parameters, the location of the peak field-aligned current in the equatorial plane also varies, such that the ionospheric location remains roughly constant. It is thus found that significant changes to the mass density of the iogenic plasma disc are required to explain the variation in the main oval location observed using the Hubble Space Telescope.