Composition and dynamics of plasma in Saturn's magnetosphere

D. T. Young, J. J. Berthelier, M. Blanc, J. L. Burch, S. Bolton, A. J. Coates, F. J. Crary, R. Goldstein, M. Grande, T. W. Hill, R. E. Johnson, R. A. Baragiola, V. Kelha, D. J. McComas, K. Mursula, E. C. Sittler, K. R. Svenes, K. Szegö, P. Tanskanen, M. F. ThomsenS. Bakshi, B. L. Barraclough, Z. Bebesi, D. Delapp, M. W. Dunlop, J. T. Gosling, J. D. Furman, L. K. Gilbert, D. Glenn, C. Holmlund, J. M. Illiano, G. R. Lewis, D. R. Linder, S. Maurice, H. J. McAndrews, B. T. Narheim, E. Pallier, D. Reisenfeld, A. M. Rymer, H. T. Smith, R. L. Tokar, J. Vilppola, C. Zinsmeyer

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Abstract

During Cassini's initial orbit, we observed a dynamic magnetosphere composed primarily of a complex mixture of water-derived atomic and molecular ions. We have identified four distinct regions characterized by differences in both bulk plasma properties and ion composition. Protons are the dominant species outside about 9 RS (where RS is the radial distance from the center of Saturn), whereas inside, the plasma consists primarily of a corotating comet-like mix of water-derived ions with ∼3% N+. Over the A and B rings, we found an ionosphere in which O 2+ and O+ are dominant, which suggests the possible existence of a layer of O2 gas similar to the atmospheres of Europa and Ganymede.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1262-1266
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume307
Issue number5713
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 25 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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    Young, D. T., Berthelier, J. J., Blanc, M., Burch, J. L., Bolton, S., Coates, A. J., Crary, F. J., Goldstein, R., Grande, M., Hill, T. W., Johnson, R. E., Baragiola, R. A., Kelha, V., McComas, D. J., Mursula, K., Sittler, E. C., Svenes, K. R., Szegö, K., Tanskanen, P., ... Zinsmeyer, C. (2005). Composition and dynamics of plasma in Saturn's magnetosphere. Science, 307(5713), 1262-1266. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1106151