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Internally driven large-scale changes in the size of Saturn's magnetosphere

Pilkington, NM; Achilleos, N; Arridge, CS; Guio, P; Masters, A; Ray, LC; Sergis, N; ... Dougherty, MK; + view all (2015) Internally driven large-scale changes in the size of Saturn's magnetosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics , 120 (9) pp. 7289-7306. 10.1002/2015JA021290. Green open access

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Abstract

Saturn’s magnetic field acts as an obstacle to solar wind flow, deflecting plasma around the planet and forming a cavity known as the magnetosphere. The magnetopause defines the boundary between the planetary and solar dominated regimes, and so is strongly influenced by the variable nature of pressure sources both outside and within. Following from Pilkington et al. (2014), crossings of the magnetopause are identified using 7 years of magnetic field and particle data from the Cassini spacecraft and providing unprecedented spatial coverage of the magnetopause boundary. These observations reveal a dynamical interaction where, in addition to the external influence of the solar wind dynamic pressure, internal drivers, and hot plasma dynamics in particular can take almost complete control of the system’s dayside shape and size, essentially defying the solar wind conditions. The magnetopause can move by up to 10–15 planetary radii at constant solar wind dynamic pressure, corresponding to relatively “plasma-loaded” or “plasma-depleted” states, defined in terms of the internal suprathermal plasma pressure.

Type: Article
Title: Internally driven large-scale changes in the size of Saturn's magnetosphere
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021290
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1002/2015JA021290
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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 Physics and Astronomy
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/1501376
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