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Discovery of a transient radiation belt at Saturn

Roussos, E; Krupp, N; Armstrong, TP; Paranicas, C; Mitchell, DG; Krimigis, SM; ... Hamilton, DC; + view all (2008) Discovery of a transient radiation belt at Saturn. Geophysical Research Letters , 35 (22) , Article L22106. 10.1029/2008GL035767. Green open access

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Radiation belts have been detected in situ at five planets. Only at Earth however has any variability in their intensity been heretofore observed, in indirect response to solar eruptions and high altitude nuclear explosions. The Cassini spacecraft's MIMI/LEMMS instrument has now detected systematic radiation belt variability elsewhere. We report three sudden increases in energetic ion intensity around Saturn, in the vicinity of the moons Dione and Tethys, each lasting for several weeks, in response to interplanetary events caused by solar eruptions. However, the intensifications, which could create temporary satellite atmospheres at the aforementioned moons, were sharply restricted outside the orbit of Tethys. Unlike Earth, Saturn has almost unchanging inner ion radiation belts: due to Saturn's near-symmetrical magnetic field, Tethys and Dione inhibit inward radial transport of energetic ions, shielding the planet's main, inner radiation belt from solar wind influences.

Title:Discovery of a transient radiation belt at Saturn
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version:http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008GL035767
Additional information:Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union
Keywords:Saturn, Radiation belts, Solar storms
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Space and Climate Physics

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