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In situ measurements of Saturn's ionosphere show that it is dynamic and interacts with the rings
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2107-5859
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.
Univ Iowa, Dept Phys & Astron, Iowa City, IA 52242 USA..
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2018 (English)In: Science, ISSN 0036-8075, E-ISSN 1095-9203, Vol. 359, no 6371, p. 66-68Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The ionized upper layer of Saturn's atmosphere, its ionosphere, provides a closure of currents mediated by the magnetic field to other electrically charged regions (for example, rings) and hosts ion-molecule chemistry. In 2017, the Cassini spacecraft passed inside the planet's rings, allowing in situ measurements of the ionosphere. The Radio and Plasma Wave Science instrument detected a cold, dense, and dynamic ionosphere at Saturn that interacts with the rings. Plasma densities reached up to 1000 cubic centimeters, and electron temperatures were below 1160 kelvin near closest approach. The density varied between orbits by up to two orders of magnitude. Saturn's A- and B-rings cast a shadow on the planet that reduced ionization in the upper atmosphere, causing a north-south asymmetry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 359, no 6371, p. 66-68
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Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-341494DOI: 10.1126/science.aao4134ISI: 000419324700067PubMedID: 29229651OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-341494DiVA, id: diva2:1184519
Available from: 2018-02-21 Created: 2018-02-21 Last updated: 2018-02-21Bibliographically approved

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Wahlund, Jan-ErikMorooka, Michiko WHadid, Lina ZAndrews, David J.Edberg, Niklas J. T.Eriksson, AndersVigren, Erik

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Wahlund, Jan-ErikMorooka, Michiko WHadid, Lina ZAndrews, David J.Edberg, Niklas J. T.Eriksson, AndersVigren, Erik
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