Preliminary interpretation of Titan plasma interaction as observed by the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer: Comparisons with Voyager 1

Richard E. Hartle, Jr C. Sittler, F. M. Neubauer, R. E. Johnson, H. T. Smith, F. Crary, D. J. McComas, D. T. Young, A. J. Coates, D. Simpson, S. Bolton, D. Reisenfeld, K. Szego, J. J. Berthelier, A. Rymer, J. Vilppola, J. T. Steinberg, N. Andre

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Abstract

The Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) instrument observed the plasma environment at Titan during the Cassini orbiter's TA encounter on October 26, 2004. Titan was in Saturn's magnetosphere during the Voyager 1 flyby and also during the TA encounter. CAPS measurements from this encounter are compared with measurements made by the Voyager 1 Plasma Science Instrument (PLS). The comparisons focus on the composition and nature of ambient and pickup ions. They lead to: A) the major ion components of Saturn's magnetosphere in the vicinity of Titan are H+, H2+ and O+/CH4+ ions; B) finite gyroradius effects are apparent in ambient O+ ions as the result of their absorption by Titan's extended atmosphere; C) the principal pickup ions are composed of H+, H2+, N+/ CH2+, CH4+, and N2+; D) the pickup ions are in narrow energy ranges; and E) there is clear evidence of the slowing down of background ions due to pickup ion mass loading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL08201
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume33
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 28 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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