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Electron temperature of Titan's sunlit ionosphere

Galand, M; Yelle, RV; Coates, AJ; Backes, H; Wahlund, JE; (2006) Electron temperature of Titan's sunlit ionosphere. Geophysical Research Letters , 33 (21) , Article L21101. 10.1029/2006GL027488. Green open access

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Titan's upper atmosphere is ionized by solar radiation and particle bombardment from Saturn's magnetosphere. The induced ionosphere plays a key role in the coupling of Titan's atmosphere with the Kronian environment. It also provides unique signatures for identifying energy sources upon Titan's upper atmosphere. Here we focus on observations from the first, close flyby by the Cassini spacecraft and assess the ionization and electron heating sources in Titan's sunlit ionosphere. We compare CAPS electron spectra with spectra produced by an electron transport model based on the INMS neutral densities and a MHD interaction model. In addition, we compare RPWS electron temperature against the models. The important terms in the electron energy equation include loss through excitation of vibrational states of N-2 and CH4, Coulomb collisions with suprathermal electrons, and thermal conduction. Our analysis highlights the important role of the magnetic field line configuration for aeronomic studies at Titan.

Type: Article
Title: Electron temperature of Titan's sunlit ionosphere
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1029/2006GL027488
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2006GL027488
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union
Keywords: Photoionization cross-sections, Upper-atmosphere, Plasma, Photoelectron, Model, Rates
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/113947
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