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    Supercorotating return flow from reconnection in Saturn's magnetotail

    Masters, Adam and Thomsen, M.F. and Badman, S.V. and Arridge, Chris S. and Young, D.T. and Coates, Andrew J. and Dougherty, M.K. (2011) Supercorotating return flow from reconnection in Saturn's magnetotail. Geophysical Research Letters 38 , ISSN 0094-8276.

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    Detecting plasma dynamics in Saturn's magnetosphere is essential for understanding energy flow through the system. It has been proposed that both the Dungey and Vasyliunas cycles operate at Saturn, and the competition between these cycles has been debated. We examine data taken by the Cassini spacecraft in Saturn's post-dawn magnetosphere, similar to 17.5 Saturn radii from the planet, and identify an example of return flow from magnetotail reconnection. The flow included water group ions and had elevated ion temperatures (of order 1 keV), consistent with Vasyliunas cycle return flow. The flow was also supercorotating (similar to 200 km s(-1), similar to 120% of corotation), which is highly atypical of Saturn's outer magnetosphere. Our results suggest that return flows are time-variable, and our results concerning Dungey cycle return flows are inconclusive. We propose that supercorotating flows in Saturn's dawn magnetosphere strongly influence the current system that is responsible for the planet's main auroral emission. Citation: Masters, A., M. F. Thomsen, S. V. Badman, C. S. Arridge, D. T. Young, A. J. Coates, and M. K. Dougherty (2011), Supercorotating return flow from reconnection in Saturn's magnetotail, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L03103, doi: 10.1029/2010GL046149.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2011 09:27
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:55


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