Dayglow and auroral emissions of Uranus in H2 FUV bands

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Following the recent detection of an auroral signal on Uranus (Lamy et al. [2012]. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, 7105) during HST/STIS observation performed in November 2011, we analyzed the associated HST/STIS FUV spectral images obtained in 2011 and 2012. Our purpose was to extract any possible H2 emission produced in the upper atmosphere of the planet. To interpret these data, we adapted a version of the kinetic Trans* code to the Uranian case. This code simulates the H2 emissions created by energetic particle precipitations in the upper atmosphere. The signal measured in the 1330-1700 Å range, of around 1.8 kR, is composed mostly of reflected sunlight with a small contribution from upper atmospheric emissions. For most spectra, we found no evidence of particle precipitation, indicating a precipitation flux smaller than 0.01 erg cm-2 s-1. For the spectrum of 29 November 2011 however, when an auroral spot was positively detected, we additionally identified a small contribution of H2 emission which requires a precipitating energy flux up to 0.05 erg cm-2 s-1. This study also establishes that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) can be used to monitor the aurorae on Uranus in its image and spectral modes, and to estimate the associated precipitated energy flux, provided a very careful data processing is applied.


  • Matthäus Schulik
External organisations
  • University Grenoble Alpes
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publication or newspaperIcarus
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sep 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes