Two fundamentally different drivers of dipolarizations at Saturn

Yao, Z. H. and Grodent, D. and Ray, L. C. and Rae, I. J. and Coates, A. J. and Pu, Z. Y. and Lui, A. T. and Radioti, A. and Waite, J. H. and Jones, Geraint. H. and Guo, R. L. and Dunn, W. R. (2017) Two fundamentally different drivers of dipolarizations at Saturn. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122 (4). pp. 4348-4356. ISSN 2169-9380

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Solar wind energy is transferred to planetary magnetospheres via magnetopause reconnection, driving magnetospheric dynamics. At giant planets like Saturn, rapid rotation and internal plasma sources from geologically active moons also drive magnetospheric dynamics. In both cases, magnetic energy is regularly released via magnetospheric current redistributions that usually result in a change of the global magnetic field topology (named substorm dipolarization at Earth). Besides this substorm dipolarization, the front boundary of the reconnection outflow can also lead to a strong but localized magnetic dipolarization, named a reconnection front. The enhancement of the north-south magnetic component is usually adopted as the indicator of magnetic dipolarization. However, this field increase alone cannot distinguish between the two fundamentally different mechanisms. Using measurements from Cassini, we present multiple cases whereby we identify the two distinct types of dipolarization at Saturn. A comparison between Earth and Saturn provides new insight to revealing the energy dissipation in planetary magnetospheres.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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Deposited On:
13 Nov 2017 12:14
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 01:48