Effects of Saturn's magnetospheric dynamics on Titan's ionosphere
2015 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics, ISSN 2169-9380, E-ISSN 2169-9402, Vol. 120, no 10, 8884-8898 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
We use the Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science/Langmuir probe measurements of the electron density from the first 110 flybys of Titan to study how Saturn's magnetosphere influences Titan's ionosphere. The data is first corrected for biased sampling due to varying solar zenith angle and solar energy flux (solar cycle effects). We then present results showing that the electron density in Titan's ionosphere, in the altitude range 1600-2400km, is increased by about a factor of 2.5 when Titan is located on the nightside of Saturn (Saturn local time (SLT) 21-03h) compared to when on the dayside (SLT 09-15 h). For lower altitudes (1100-1600km) the main dividing factor for the ionospheric density is the ambient magnetospheric conditions. When Titan is located in the magnetospheric current sheet, the electron density in Titan's ionosphere is about a factor of 1.4 higher compared to when Titan is located in the magnetospheric lobes. The factor of 1.4 increase in between sheet and lobe flybys is interpreted as an effect of increased particle impact ionization from approximate to 200eV sheet electrons. The factor of 2.5 increase in electron density between flybys on Saturn's nightside and dayside is suggested to be an effect of the pressure balance between thermal plus magnetic pressure in Titan's ionosphere against the dynamic pressure and energetic particle pressure in Saturn's magnetosphere.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 120, no 10, 8884-8898 p.
Titan, Saturn's magnetosphere, Cassini, ionosphere
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-272411DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021373ISI: 000366135200052OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-272411DiVA: diva2:897293
FunderSwedish Research Council