Vertical Current Density Structure of Saturn's Equatorial Current Sheet

Martin, Carley and Arridge, Chris and Case, Nathan and Ray, Licia C (2019) Vertical Current Density Structure of Saturn's Equatorial Current Sheet. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 124 (7). pp. 5097-5106. ISSN 2169-9402

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Routine spacecraft encounters with the Saturn current sheet due to the passage of aperiodic waves provide the opportunity to analyze the current sheet structure. The current density is expected to peak where the field strength reaches a minimum if approximated as a Harris current sheet. However, in Earth's magnetotail this is not always the case as the sheet is sometimes bifurcated (having two or more maxima in the current density). We utilize measurements of Saturn's magnetic field to estimate the current density during crossings of the current sheet by time differentiating the B a component of the field in a current sheet coordinate system, where B a is perpendicular to both the current and current sheet normal. This is then averaged and organized by the magnitude of B a. Using this method, we can identify a classical Harris-style or bifurcated current sheet as a peak at the center or two distinct maxima on either side of B a=0, respectively. We find that around 10% of current sheet profiles exhibit a bifurcated current sheet signature, which is substantially lower than an ∼25% occurrence rate at Earth.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article Martin, C. J., Arridge, C. S., Case, N. A., & Ray, L. C. ( 2019). Vertical current density structure of Saturn's equatorial current sheet. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 124, 5097– 5106. which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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29 May 2019 09:00
Last Modified:
12 Jun 2024 00:33