"Enhanced" Ray Tracing Study of the Attenuation Lanes in Jupiter’s Hectometric Radio Emission By Using Cassini Jupiter Encounter Data
Friday, 19 December 2014
Cassini Jupiter encounter, in the late 2000 and the early 2001, revealed persistent properties of Jovian hectometric (HOM) radiation, which is produced along auroral magnetic field lines in the polar regions of Jupiter. One of the unique properties - known as attenuation lanes (or so-called attenuation bands) - appears as a recurrent, well defined intensity extinction/enhancement feature in the HOM dynamic spectrum. It is believed that this phenomenon is the consequence of ray refraction from high-density medium - either (1) the field-aligned enhanced density along Io plasma torus or (2) Io plasma torus itself or both - in the course of radio propagation from the radio source to the observer. Many studies, mainly on case (1), have used standard ray-tracing technique, which cannot provide reliable information on transmitted radiation intensity. In this study, we have investigated case (2) by using an "enhanced" ray-tracing technique, in which a family of neighboring rays is simultaneously traced, allowing the physical intensity to be estimated along the ray path. We show the results of our ray-tracing computations and then suggest the most plausible scenario for the attenuation lanes phenomenon. More generally and from this example, we conclude that existing refracting plasma structures, encountered by radiation along its ray path through the planetary magnetosphere, might strongly affect, while not taken into account, the overall properties of the radio emission measured by a distant observer.