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    Magnetopause oscillations near the planetary period at Saturn: occurrence, phase, and amplitude

    Clarke, K.E. and Andrews, D.J. and Arridge, Chris S. and Coates, Andrew J. and Cowley, S.W.H. (2010) Magnetopause oscillations near the planetary period at Saturn: occurrence, phase, and amplitude. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 115 (A8), ISSN 0148-0227.

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    Using magnetic field and plasma electron data from ∼40 Cassini orbits that crossed Saturn's magnetopause during 2004–2007, we make a first systematic study of the magnetopause oscillations that are related to the oscillations in the magnetic field and plasma inside the magnetosphere near the ∼11 h planetary rotation period, here termed the magnetospheric period. Because the motion of the spacecraft through the boundary region, combined with other boundary effects, produces a broad spread in timings between successive like crossings of the boundary, boundary oscillation events were selected for analysis using a broad timing window, 0.4–1.6 of the magnetospheric period. We find these events to be highly organized by the phase of the interior field oscillations, showing that they relate to boundary oscillations that have a closely common period. We find that ∼60% of passes through the boundary region show one or more such oscillations. Of those that do, ∼65% show one oscillation, ∼10% show two, and ∼25% show three or more. The oscillations are observed at all local times at which Cassini crossed the boundary and over a range of latitudes and are thus a global phenomenon. The phasing of the boundary oscillations is such that the rotating quasi-uniform equatorial field within the quasi-dipolar “core” magnetosphere (within ∼15 Saturn radii (RS) of the planet) points approximately away from the maximum outward boundary displacement. However, the boundary oscillation phase is found to depend somewhat on radial distance to the boundary, consistent with outward radial propagation in the magnetosphere at phase speeds of ∼250 km s−1. Taking account of the radial propagation, analysis shows that the phase of maximum outward boundary displacement is directly related to the phase of the density maximum in the Enceladus torus. The oscillation amplitude is estimated typically to be ∼1.2 RS but sometimes reaches ∼2–3 RS and is occasionally as great as ∼4–5 RS.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): magnetopause
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2014 11:43
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:14


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