The Cassini spacecraft flew by Titan on October 26, 2004 and December 13, 2004. In both cases it entered the ionosphere of Titan, allowing exploration of its plasma environment. Using observations from the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) and the Cassini magnetometer along the inbound legs of both flybys, we examine Titan's global plasma environment. On both occasions CAPS detected plasma populations distinct from those of the Kronian magnetosphere at about 1-1.5 Saturn radii from the moon. Closer to Titan CAPS observed drifting ion ring distributions originating from Titan and, in addition, a corotating flow that was significantly decelerated around the moon due to mass loading. Near the moon, but above the ionosphere, very cold plasma was dominant. We also compare the CAPS data to those of Voyager 1.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)