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Saturn Plasma Sources and Associated Transport Processes

Blanc, M; Andrews, DJ; Coates, AJ; Hamilton, DC; Jackman, CM; Jia, X; Kotova, A; ... Westlake, JH; + view all (2015) Saturn Plasma Sources and Associated Transport Processes. Space Science Reviews , 192 (1) pp. 237-283. 10.1007/s11214-015-0172-9. Green open access

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This article reviews the different sources of plasma for Saturn’s magnetosphere, as they are known essentially from the scientific results of the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan. At low and medium energies, the main plasma source is the H2OH2O cloud produced by the “geyser” activity of the small satellite Enceladus. Impact ionization of this cloud occurs to produce on the order of 100 kg/s of fresh plasma, a source which dominates all the other ones: Titan (which produces much less plasma than anticipated before the Cassini mission), the rings, the solar wind (a poorly known source due to the lack of quantitative knowledge of the degree of coupling between the solar wind and Saturn’s magnetosphere), and the ionosphere. At higher energies, energetic particles are produced by energy diffusion and acceleration of lower energy plasma produced by the interchange instabilities induced by the rapid rotation of Saturn, and possibly, for the highest energy range, by contributions from the CRAND process acting inside Saturn’s magnetosphere. Discussion of the transport and acceleration processes acting on these plasma sources shows the importance of rotation-induced radial transport and energization of the plasma, and also shows how much the unexpected planetary modulation of essentially all plasma parameters of Saturn’s magnetosphere remains an unexplained mystery.

Type: Article
Title: Saturn Plasma Sources and Associated Transport Processes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11214-015-0172-9
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-015-0172-9
Language: English
Additional information: © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11214-015-0172-9
Keywords: Science & Technology, Physical Sciences, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Saturn, Magnetosphere, Satellites, Plasma transport, Solar wind, Radiation belts, TITANS UPPER-ATMOSPHERE, MAGNETIC-FIELD, INNER MAGNETOSPHERE, ENERGETIC PROTONS, ROTATION PERIOD, ENCELADUS PLUME, E-RING, CASSINI MAGNETOMETER, TRAPPED RADIATION, MOLECULAR-IONS
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/1501375
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