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Effects of Saturn's magnetospheric dynamics on Titan's ionosphere

Effects of Saturn's magnetospheric dynamics on Titan's ionosphere
Effects of Saturn's magnetospheric dynamics on Titan's ionosphere

We use the Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science/Langmuir probe measurements of the electron density from the first 110 flybys of Titan to study how Saturn's magnetosphere influences Titan's ionosphere. The data is first corrected for biased sampling due to varying solar zenith angle and solar energy flux (solar cycle effects). We then present results showing that the electron density in Titan's ionosphere, in the altitude range 1600-2400 km, is increased by about a factor of 2.5 when Titan is located on the nightside of Saturn (Saturn local time (SLT) 21-03 h) compared to when on the dayside (SLT 09-15 h). For lower altitudes (1100-1600 km) the main dividing factor for the ionospheric density is the ambient magnetospheric conditions. When Titan is located in the magnetospheric current sheet, the electron density in Titan's ionosphere is about a factor of 1.4 higher compared to when Titan is located in the magnetospheric lobes. The factor of 1.4 increase in between sheet and lobe flybys is interpreted as an effect of increased particle impact ionization from 200 eV sheet electrons. The factor of 2.5 increase in electron density between flybys on Saturn's nightside and dayside is suggested to be an effect of the pressure balance between thermal plus magnetic pressure in Titan's ionosphere against the dynamic pressure and energetic particle pressure in Saturn's magnetosphere.

Cassini, ionosphere, Saturn's magnetosphere, Titan
2169-9380
8884-8898
Edberg, N. J.T.
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Andrews, D. J.
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Bertucci, C.
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Gurnett, D. A.
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Holmberg, M. K.G.
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Jackman, C. M.
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Kurth, W. S.
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Menietti, J. D.
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Opgenoorth, H. J.
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Shebanits, O.
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Vigren, E.
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Wahlund, J. E.
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Edberg, N. J.T.
03bb12f9-89d9-489a-a0cf-556756605ff1
Andrews, D. J.
cda6ad85-b896-4d75-b439-ea2e3b804a7c
Bertucci, C.
61559df2-98e4-48a4-925e-38d33ab6891a
Gurnett, D. A.
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Holmberg, M. K.G.
2f883476-1c12-40e9-a0d8-8d3eab563499
Jackman, C. M.
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Kurth, W. S.
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Menietti, J. D.
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Opgenoorth, H. J.
84640e3f-58ad-4a9f-b79b-d71a7d43cecb
Shebanits, O.
34d05db0-f953-4160-b374-676e7f88af23
Vigren, E.
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Wahlund, J. E.
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Edberg, N. J.T., Andrews, D. J., Bertucci, C., Gurnett, D. A., Holmberg, M. K.G., Jackman, C. M., Kurth, W. S., Menietti, J. D., Opgenoorth, H. J., Shebanits, O., Vigren, E. and Wahlund, J. E. (2015) Effects of Saturn's magnetospheric dynamics on Titan's ionosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 120 (10), 8884-8898. (doi:10.1002/2015JA021373).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We use the Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science/Langmuir probe measurements of the electron density from the first 110 flybys of Titan to study how Saturn's magnetosphere influences Titan's ionosphere. The data is first corrected for biased sampling due to varying solar zenith angle and solar energy flux (solar cycle effects). We then present results showing that the electron density in Titan's ionosphere, in the altitude range 1600-2400 km, is increased by about a factor of 2.5 when Titan is located on the nightside of Saturn (Saturn local time (SLT) 21-03 h) compared to when on the dayside (SLT 09-15 h). For lower altitudes (1100-1600 km) the main dividing factor for the ionospheric density is the ambient magnetospheric conditions. When Titan is located in the magnetospheric current sheet, the electron density in Titan's ionosphere is about a factor of 1.4 higher compared to when Titan is located in the magnetospheric lobes. The factor of 1.4 increase in between sheet and lobe flybys is interpreted as an effect of increased particle impact ionization from 200 eV sheet electrons. The factor of 2.5 increase in electron density between flybys on Saturn's nightside and dayside is suggested to be an effect of the pressure balance between thermal plus magnetic pressure in Titan's ionosphere against the dynamic pressure and energetic particle pressure in Saturn's magnetosphere.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 22 September 2015
Keywords: Cassini, ionosphere, Saturn's magnetosphere, Titan

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436467
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436467
ISSN: 2169-9380
PURE UUID: b407d565-90cd-4dd2-b261-2203eef14374
ORCID for C. M. Jackman: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0635-7361

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Date deposited: 11 Dec 2019 17:30
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:23

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Contributors

Author: N. J.T. Edberg
Author: D. J. Andrews
Author: C. Bertucci
Author: D. A. Gurnett
Author: M. K.G. Holmberg
Author: C. M. Jackman ORCID iD
Author: W. S. Kurth
Author: J. D. Menietti
Author: H. J. Opgenoorth
Author: O. Shebanits
Author: E. Vigren
Author: J. E. Wahlund

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