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Saturn's Ionosphere: Electron Density Altitude Profiles and D-Ring Interaction From The Cassini Grand Finale
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9958-0241
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2107-5859
Univ Iowa, Dept Phys & Astron, Iowa City, IA 52242 USA.
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2019 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 46, no 16, p. 9362-9369Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present the electron density (n(e)) altitude profiles of Saturn's ionosphere at near-equatorial latitudes from all 23 orbits of Cassini's Grand Finale. The data are collected by the Langmuir probe part of the Radio and Plasma Wave Science investigation. A high degree of variability in the electron density profiles is observed. However, organizing them by consecutive altitude ranges revealed clear differences between the southern and northern hemispheres. The n(e) profiles are shown to be more variable and connected to the D-ring below 5,000 km in the southern hemisphere compared to the northern hemisphere. This observed variability is explained to be a consequence of an electrodynamic interaction with the D-ring. Moreover, a density altitude profile is constructed for the northern hemisphere indicating the presence of three different ionospheric layers. Similar properties were observed during Cassini's final plunge, where the main ionospheric peak is crossed at similar to 1,550-km altitude. Plain Language Summary The Cassini Langmuir probe measured directly the uppermost layer of Saturn's atmosphere, the ionosphere, during its Grand Finale. The observations revealed a layered electron density altitude profile with evidence in the southern hemisphere of an electrodynamic type of interaction with the planet innermost D-ring. Moreover, the main peak of the ionosphere is observed for the first time in the final plunge around 1,550 km.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 46, no 16, p. 9362-9369
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-396547DOI: 10.1029/2018GL078004ISI: 000490966700007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-396547DiVA, id: diva2:1368561
Funder
Swedish National Space BoardSwedish Research Council, 2016-05364Swedish National Space Board, Dnr 174/15Swedish National Space Board, Dnr 135/13Swedish Research Council, 621-2013-4191Available from: 2019-11-07 Created: 2019-11-07 Last updated: 2019-11-07Bibliographically approved

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Hadid, Lina ZMorooka, Michiko WWahlund, Jan-ErikAndrews, David J.Vigren, ErikEdberg, Niklas J. T.Eriksson, Anders I

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Hadid, Lina ZMorooka, Michiko WWahlund, Jan-ErikAndrews, David J.Vigren, ErikEdberg, Niklas J. T.Eriksson, Anders I
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Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division
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Geophysical Research Letters
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