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    Cassini/CAPS observations of Duskside Tail Dynamics at Saturn

    Thomsen, M.F. and Wilson, R.J. and Tokar, R L. and Reisenfeld, D.B. and Jackman, Caitriona M. (2013) Cassini/CAPS observations of Duskside Tail Dynamics at Saturn. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 118 (9), pp. 5767-5781. ISSN 2169-9380.

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    [1] Plasma properties of Saturn's premidnight tail region are surveyed using Cassini/Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) ion observations from 2010. Only low-latitude (|lat| < 6°) intervals in which the CAPS viewing was roughly symmetric inward and outward around the corotation direction are used. Our numerical moments algorithm returns nonzero ion density for 70% (999) of the intervals selected. Of these, 642 had detectable water-group ion densities, and the remainder were dominantly, if not entirely, light ions. The derived plasma parameters are similar to those found in an earlier study for the postmidnight tail region, except that we find little evidence for the systematic outflows identified in that study, and we do find numerous significant inflow events. One such inflow is identified as a dipolarization event, the first reported plasma properties of such a structure at Saturn. A second, long-lasting event may be evidence for the existence at times of a quasi-steady reconnection region in the premidnight tail. The large majority of the plasma flows are found to be within 20° of the corotation direction, though with flow speeds significantly lower than full corotation. While the inflow events represent plausible evidence for internally driven mass loss in the premidnight region, the absence of significant outflow events suggests that in the region surveyed here, tail reconnection has not yet proceeded to involve lobe field lines, so the disconnected plasma continues its general motion in the corotation direction.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Saturn, magnetosphere
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2013 08:31
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:07


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