Location of the magnetodisk in the nightside outer magnetosphere of Saturn near equinox based on ion densities

K. Szego, Z. Nemeth, G. Erdos, L. Foldy, Z. Bebesi, M. Thomsen, D. Delapp

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We investigate ion densities derived from measurements by the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer, to determine how these ions are distributed around the magnetodisk of Saturn. The magnetodisk is a variable plasma structure, here we fitted the simple structural model of Arridge et al. (2011) as a reference for the location of the central line of the magnetodisk. This study covers the time range DOY 092-285, 2009, around Saturnian equinox, along nine orbits of the Cassini spacecraft, each of which included a Titan flyby. We also investigated the covariance of the magnetic field components during that period of time. Our main findings are: a) The simple structural model of Arridge et al. (2011) agrees well with the thermal ion density observations and works well in the equinox season of Saturn. b) In this data set the locations of the central sheet of the magnetodisk is identified by the change of sign of BR. At those locations we observed higher heavy ion densities and narrower confinement to the equator than those of protons. The heavy ion and proton layers exhibited the same structure that was found during the primary mission. c) The observed flapping amplitudes of the magnetosheet relative to the spacecraft were high, reaching 5 RS. d) The relative phase of the magnetic field components were different in the equatorial regions and in the lobes (<5 RS).

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA09225
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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