In Situ Ion Composition Observations of Ganymede's Outflowing Ionosphere

P. W. Valek, J. H. Waite, F. Allegrini, R. W. Ebert, F. Bagenal, S. J. Bolton, J. E.P. Connerney, W. S. Kurth, J. R. Szalay, R. J. Wilson

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On 7 June 2021 the Juno spacecraft passed through the Ganymede magnetosphere, with a closest approach altitude of 1,046 km. The Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment-Ion (JADE-I) sensor observed ionospheric ions, consisting of O2+, O+, H2+, H+, and H3+. These ions were outflowing, with no bi-directional flow except possibly near the magnetopause. Relative ion densities with respect to time agree the electron density determined by the Waves instrument, but are ∼2.5 times larger. The light ions appear to be in hydrostatic equilibrium because the altitude profile is generally symmetric between inbound and outbound legs of the flyby. H3+ ions are an exception to this, with the ratio of H3+/H2+ being ∼a factor 4 lower on the outbound than the inbound leg. The heavy ions have higher densities outbound than inbound. The outflowing flux of light ions peak near closest approach, but the heavy ions peak outbound of the flyby.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022GL100281
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 28 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Ganymede
  • ion composition
  • ionosphere
  • JADE
  • Juno


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