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Supercorotating return flow from reconnection in Saturn's magnetotail

Masters, A; Thomsen, MF; Badman, SV; Arridge, CS; Young, DT; Coates, AJ; Dougherty, MK; (2011) Supercorotating return flow from reconnection in Saturn's magnetotail. Geophysical Research Letters , 38 , Article L03103. 10.1029/2010GL046149. Green open access

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Abstract

Detecting plasma dynamics in Saturn's magnetosphere is essential for understanding energy flow through the system. It has been proposed that both the Dungey and Vasyliunas cycles operate at Saturn, and the competition between these cycles has been debated. We examine data taken by the Cassini spacecraft in Saturn's post-dawn magnetosphere, similar to 17.5 Saturn radii from the planet, and identify an example of return flow from magnetotail reconnection. The flow included water group ions and had elevated ion temperatures (of order 1 keV), consistent with Vasyliunas cycle return flow. The flow was also supercorotating (similar to 200 km s(-1), similar to 120% of corotation), which is highly atypical of Saturn's outer magnetosphere. Our results suggest that return flows are time-variable, and our results concerning Dungey cycle return flows are inconclusive. We propose that supercorotating flows in Saturn's dawn magnetosphere strongly influence the current system that is responsible for the planet's main auroral emission.

Type: Article
Title: Supercorotating return flow from reconnection in Saturn's magnetotail
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1029/2010GL046149
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010GL046149
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union
Keywords: Magnetic-field, Spectrometer
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/1298198
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