On plasma convection in Saturn's magnetosphere




Livi, Roberto

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We use CAPS plasma data to derive particle characteristics within Saturn's inner magnetosphere. Our approach is to first develop a forward-modeling program to derive 1-dimensional (1D) isotropic plasma characteristics in Saturn's inner, equatorial magnetosphere using a novel correction for the spacecraft potential and penetrating background radiation. The advantage of this fitting routine is the simultaneous modeling of plasma data and systematic errors when operating on large data sets, which greatly reduces the computation time and accurately quantifies instrument noise. The data set consists of particle measurements from the Electron Spectrometer (ELS) and the Ion Mass Spectrometer (IMS), which are part of the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) instrument suite onboard the Cassini spacecraft. The data is limited to peak ion flux measurements within ±10° magnetic latitude and 3-15 geocentric equatorial radial distance (R S). Systematic errors such as spacecraft charging and penetrating background radiation are parametrized individually in the modeling and are automatically addressed during the fitting procedure. The resulting values are in turn used as cross-calibration between IMS and ELS, where we show a significant improvement in magnetospheric electron densities and minor changes in the ion characteristics due to the error adjustments. Preliminary results show ion and electron densities in close agreement, consistent with charge neutrality throughout Saturn's inner magnetosphere and confirming the spacecraft potential to be a common influence on IMS and ELS. Comparison of derived plasma parameters with results from previous studies using CAPS data and the Radio And Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) investigation yields good agreement. Using the derived plasma characteristics we focus on the radial transport of hot electrons. We present evidence of loss-free adiabatic transport of equatorially mirroring electrons (100 eV - 10 keV) in Saturn's magnetosphere between 10-19 RS and from July 1st, 2004 to . Hot electron densities peak near 9 RS and decrease radially at a rate of 1/r3, which suggests a source in the inner magnetosphere. We also observe a decrease in electron energy at a rate of 1/r3 due to the conservation of the first adiabatic invariant, consistent with radial transport through a magnetic dipole. Data from the magnetic field instrument is used to derive the magnetic moment of hot electrons which shows a constant value of 103.4 kgm2s-2 nT-1 ±10 between 10-19 RS, indicating a loss-free adiabatic transport with minor fluctuations. Plasma transport at Saturn can occur through flux tube interchange instabilities within the magnetosphere, where cold dense plasma is transported radially outward while hot tenuous plasma from the outer magnetosphere moves radially inward. Gradient-curvature drifts cause these hot electrons leave the injection and superimpose on the ambient cold plasma, consequently forcing it to move radially outward. This implies flux-tube interchange to be the main source for hot electrons. Hot electrons are part of the plasma analysis for which CAPS was designed, while the MIMI-LEMMS instrument measures higher energy electrons. Taking into account the penetrating background radiation, we are able to derive information for these energetic particles using our plasma instruments. We present CAPS-IMS background measurements derived from plasma data and show strong correlation with high energy particle data from MIMI-LEMMS. IMS background is generated via two main processes: 1) Collisions between the instrument walls and ambient energetic particles, which cause X-rays to trigger count signals in the instrument optics, and 2) backscatter of energetic particles in the electrostatic analyzer. We quantify these effects and use the results to identify Saturn's radiation belt peaks and nadirs, and magnetospheric regions of depleted particle fluxes, or microsignatures, which are formed through interactions with moons and ring systems. Using methods described in [119] we analyze a moon microsignatures during the outbound phase of Saturn orbit insertion (2004-183) and inside the orbit of Mimas, a region of intense radiation. Using the physical characteristics and radial locations of Atlas, Prometheus, and Pandora we derive the radial diffusion coefficient to be less than 1 ×10 -9 and particle energies to be below 1 MeV.


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Magnetosphere, Plasma Modeling, Saturn, Space Plasma



Physics and Astronomy