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1. Transport of Mass, Momentum and Energy in Planetary Magnetodisc Regions

Achilleos, N; André, N; Blanco-Cano, X; Brandt, PC; Delamere, PA; Winglee, R; (2015) 1. Transport of Mass, Momentum and Energy in Planetary Magnetodisc Regions. Space Science Reviews , 187 (1-4) pp. 229-299. 10.1007/s11214-014-0086-y. Green open access

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The rapid rotation of the gas giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, leads to the formation of magnetodisc regions in their magnetospheric environments. In these regions, relatively cold plasma is confined towards the equatorial regions, and the magnetic field generated by the azimuthal (ring) current adds to the planetary dipole, forming radially distended field lines near the equatorial plane. The ensuing force balance in the equatorial magnetodisc is strongly influenced by centrifugal stress and by the thermal pressure of hot ion populations, whose thermal energy is large compared to the magnitude of their centrifugal potential energy. The sources of plasma for the Jovian and Kronian magnetospheres are the respective satellites Io (a volcanic moon) and Enceladus (an icy moon). The plasma produced by these sources is globally transported outwards through the respective magnetosphere, and ultimately lost from the system. One of the most studied mechanisms for this transport is flux tube interchange, a plasma instability which displaces mass but does not displace magnetic flux—an important observational constraint for any transport process. Pressure anisotropy is likely to play a role in the loss of plasma from these magnetospheres. This is especially the case for the Jovian system, which can harbour strong parallel pressures at the equatorial segments of rotating, expanding flux tubes, leading to these regions becoming unstable, blowing open and releasing their plasma. Plasma mass loss is also associated with magnetic reconnection events in the magnetotail regions. In this overview, we summarise some important observational and theoretical concepts associated with the production and transport of plasma in giant planet magnetodiscs. We begin by considering aspects of force balance in these systems, and their coupling with the ionospheres of their parent planets. We then describe the role of the interaction between neutral and ionized species, and how it determines the rate at which plasma mass and momentum are added to the magnetodisc. Following this, we describe the observational properties of plasma injections, and the consequent implications for the nature of global plasma transport and magnetodisc stability. The theory of the flux tube interchange instability is reviewed, and the influences of gravity and magnetic curvature on the instability are described. The interaction between simulated interchange plasma structures and Saturn’s moon Titan is discussed, and its relationship to observed periodic phenomena at Saturn is described. Finally, the observation, generation and evolution of plasma waves associated with mass loading in the magnetodisc regions is reviewed.

Type: Article
Title: 1. Transport of Mass, Momentum and Energy in Planetary Magnetodisc Regions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11214-014-0086-y
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11214-014-0086-y
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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 Physics and Astronomy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1461215
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