Mapping Saturn’s Night Side Plasma Sheet Using Cassini’s Proximal Orbits

Sergis, N. and Achilleos, Nicholas and Guio, P. and Arridge, Christopher Stephen and Sorba, Arianna and Roussos, E. and Krimigis, S.M. and Paranicas, C. and Hamilton, D. and Krupp, Norbert and Mitchell, D. G. and Dougherty, M. K. and Balasis, G. and Giannakis, O (2018) Mapping Saturn’s Night Side Plasma Sheet Using Cassini’s Proximal Orbits. Geophysical Research Letters, 45 (14). pp. 6798-6804. ISSN 0094-8276

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Between April and the end of its mission on 15 September, Cassini executed a series of 22 very similar 6.5‐day‐period proximal orbits, covering the mid‐latitude region of the nightside magnetosphere. These passes provided us with the opportunity to examine the variability of the nightside plasma sheet within this time scale for the first time. We use Cassini particle and magnetic field data to quantify the magnetospheric dynamics along these orbits, as reflected in the variability of certain relevant plasma parameters, including the energetic ion pressure and partial (hot) plasma beta. We use the University College London/Achilleos‐Guio‐Arridge magnetodisk model to map these quantities to the conjugate magnetospheric equator, thus providing an equivalent equatorial radial profile for these parameters. By quantifying the variation in the plasma parameters, we further identify the different states of the nightside ring current (quiescent and disturbed) in order to confirm and add to the context previously established by analogous studies based on long‐term, near‐equatorial measurements.

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Journal Article
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Geophysical Research Letters
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08 Aug 2018 10:36
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 01:13