What is APIS ?

In brief

Planetary aurorae are powerful emissions radiated from the auroral regions of magnetized planets by accelerated charged particles, in a wide range of wavelengths, from radio to X-rays. The UV range in particular is adapted to measure collisionaly excited transitions of H and H2, the dominant species in the upper atmosphere of giant planets, produced by precipitating auroral particles. It additionally benefits a good angular resolution.

Auroral UV observations therefore provide a wealth of informations on planetary atmospheres and magnetospheres. They also offer a unique diagnostic to remotely probe the solar wind activity throughout the heliosphere.

Among the space-based UV observatories, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) intensively observed the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus) in the Far-UV (FUV) from 1993 up to now, providing thousands of images and spectra, often in the frame of combined observations with spacecraft dedicated to planetary exploration (Galileo orbiting Jupiter over 1995-2003, Cassini flyby of Jupiter in 2000, Cassini orbiting Saturn since 2004, New Horizons flyby of Jupiter in 2007) or Earth-based observatories (radio, IR, X-rays). These observations now form a rich database, of interest for a a wide community, but whose use remains limited by the difficulty to access and use such observations.

The Auroral Planetary Imaging and Spectroscopy (APIS) service aims at providing a free and simple access to a database of high-level auroral data, built from the STSci archive of HST observations, in convenient formats (fits, jpg, pdf), and compatible with virtual observatory (VO) facilities. It is fully described in a dedicated publication.

Forfuitously, the bull APIS is also the ancient egyptian god of fertilization, wearing an active solar disc between the horns.


The APIS service is developed at LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS. The database is archived and maintained at Paris Astronomical Data Centre.

L. Lamy Assistant astronomer LESIA-Observatoire de Paris Scientific responsible
R. Prangé Research Director LESIA-Observatoire de Paris Scientific expertise
F. Henry Research engineer LESIA-Observatoire de Paris Project manager
P. Le Sidaner Research engineer VO-Paris Data Centre Archiving, contact Paris Astronomical Data Centre
N. Moreau Temporary study engineer LERMA-Observatoire de Paris Specview, contact VAMDC
A. Shih Research engineer VO-Paris Data Centre Responsible of Paris Astronomical Data Centre infrastructure
C. Chauvin Temporary study engineer Paris Astronomical Data Centre Interoperability, EPN-TAP client
S. Cnudde Study engineer LESIA-Observatoire de Paris Graphical design (SIGAL service)