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The importance of thermal electron heating in Titan's ionosphere: Comparison with Cassini T34 flyby
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2011 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, Vol. 116, A10213- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We use a new magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model to study the effects of thermal-electron heating in Titan's ionosphere. This model improves the previously used multispecies MHD model by solving both the electron and ion pressure equations instead of a single plasma pressure equation. This improvement enables a more accurate evaluation of ion and electron temperatures inside Titan's ionosphere. The model is first applied to an idealized case, and the results are compared in detail with those of the single-pressure MHD model to illustrate the effects of the improvement. Simulation results show that the dayside ionosphere thermal pressure is larger than the upstream pressure during normal conditions, when Titan is located in the dusk region; thus Saturn's magnetic field is shielded by the highly conducting ionosphere, similar to the interaction of Venus during solar maximum conditions. This model is also applied to a special flyby of Titan, the T34 flyby, which occurred near the dusk region. It is shown that better agreement with the magnetometer data can be achieved using the two-fluid MHD model with the inclusion of the effects of thermal electron heating. The model results clearly demonstrate the importance of thermal-electron heating in Titan's ionosphere.

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2011. Vol. 116, A10213- p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-161459DOI: 10.1029/2011JA016657ISI: 000295987300003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-161459DiVA: diva2:456539
Available from: 2011-11-15 Created: 2011-11-14 Last updated: 2011-11-15Bibliographically approved

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Wahlund, Jan-Erik
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Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division
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