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An Analysis of the Statistics and Systematics of Limb Anomaly Detections in HST/STIS Transit Images of Europa
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Electrical Engineering, Space and Plasma Physics.
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Electrical Engineering, Space and Plasma Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0554-4691
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Electrical Engineering, Space and Plasma Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2422-5426
Univ Cologne, Cologne, Germany..
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2020 (English)In: Astronomical Journal, ISSN 0004-6256, E-ISSN 1538-3881, Vol. 159, no 4, article id 155Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several recent studies derived the existence of plumes on Jupiter's moon Europa. The only technique that provided multiple detections is the far-ultraviolet imaging observations of Europa in transit of Jupiter taken by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). In this study, we reanalyze the three HST/STIS transit images in which Sparks et al. identified limb anomalies as evidence for Europa's plume activity. After reproducing the results of Sparks et al., we find that positive outliers are similarly present in the images as the negative outliers that were attributed to plume absorption. A physical explanation for the positive outliers is missing. We then investigate the systematic uncertainties and statistics in the images and identify two factors that are crucial when searching for anomalies around the limb. One factor is the alignment between the actual and assumed locations of Europa on the detector. A misalignment introduces distorted statistics, most strongly affecting the limb above the darker trailing hemisphere where the plumes were detected. The second factor is a discrepancy between the observation and the model used for comparison, adding uncertainty in the statistics. When accounting for these two factors, the limb minima (and maxima) are consistent with random statistical occurrence in a sample size given by the number of pixels in the analyzed limb region. The plume candidate features in the three analyzed images can be explained by purely statistical fluctuations and do not provide evidence for absorption by plumes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IOP PUBLISHING LTD , 2020. Vol. 159, no 4, article id 155
Keywords [en]
Hubble Space Telescope, Ultraviolet photometry, Astrostatistics techniques, Galilean satellites
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-271922DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/ab7454ISI: 000521369700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-271922DiVA, id: diva2:1425537
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QC 20200421

Available from: 2020-04-21 Created: 2020-04-21 Last updated: 2020-04-21Bibliographically approved

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Giono, GabrielRoth, LorenzIvchenko, Nickolay

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