Space Science Reviews

, Volume 164, Issue 1, pp 1–83

Mapping Magnetospheric Equatorial Regions at Saturn from Cassini Prime Mission Observations

Authors

    • Mullard Space Science LaboratoryUniversity College London
    • The Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck
  • N. André
    • CNRSInstitut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie
    • UPS-OMP, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et PlanétologieUniversité de Toulouse
  • H. J. McAndrews
    • ISR-1, Space and Atmospheric Sciences GroupLANL
  • E. J. Bunce
    • Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of Leicester
  • M. H. Burger
    • NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
  • K. C. Hansen
    • Center for Space Environment Modeling, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space SciencesUniversity of Michigan
  • H.-W. Hsu
    • Max Planck Institute Nuclear Physics
  • R. E. Johnson
    • Engineering Physics Program and Astronomy DepartmentUniversity of Virginia
  • G. H. Jones
    • Mullard Space Science LaboratoryUniversity College London
    • The Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck
  • S. Kempf
    • Max Planck Institute Nuclear Physics
  • K. K. Khurana
    • Institute of Geophysics and Planetary PhysicsUniversity of California
  • N. Krupp
    • Max-Planck Institut fuer Sonnensystemforschung
  • W. S. Kurth
    • Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of Iowa
  • J. S. Leisner
    • Institute of Geophysics and Planetary PhysicsUniversity of California
    • Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of Iowa
  • C. Paranicas
    • Applied Physics LaboratoryJohns Hopkins University
  • E. Roussos
    • Max-Planck Institut fuer Sonnensystemforschung
  • C. T. Russell
    • Institute of Geophysics and Planetary PhysicsUniversity of California
  • P. Schippers
    • Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of Iowa
    • Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements
  • E. C. Sittler
    • NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
  • H. T. Smith
    • Applied Physics LaboratoryJohns Hopkins University
  • M. F. Thomsen
    • ISR-1, Space and Atmospheric Sciences GroupLANL
  • M. K. Dougherty
    • The Blackett LaboratoryImperial College
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11214-011-9850-4

Cite this article as:
Arridge, C.S., André, N., McAndrews, H.J. et al. Space Sci Rev (2011) 164: 1. doi:10.1007/s11214-011-9850-4

Abstract

Saturn’s rich magnetospheric environment is unique in the solar system, with a large number of active magnetospheric processes and phenomena. Observations of this environment from the Cassini spacecraft has enabled the study of a magnetospheric system which strongly interacts with other components of the saturnian system: the planet, its rings, numerous satellites (icy moons and Titan) and various dust, neutral and plasma populations. Understanding these regions, their dynamics and equilibria, and how they interact with the rest of the system via the exchange of mass, momentum and energy is important in understanding the system as a whole. Such an understanding represents a challenge to theorists, modellers and observers. Studies of Saturn’s magnetosphere based on Cassini data have revealed a system which is highly variable which has made understanding the physics of Saturn’s magnetosphere all the more difficult. Cassini’s combination of a comprehensive suite of magnetospheric fields and particles instruments with excellent orbital coverage of the saturnian system offers a unique opportunity for an in-depth study of the saturnian plasma and fields environment. In this paper knowledge of Saturn’s equatorial magnetosphere will be presented and synthesised into a global picture. Data from the Cassini magnetometer, low-energy plasma spectrometers, energetic particle detectors, radio and plasma wave instrumentation, cosmic dust detectors, and the results of theory and modelling are combined to provide a multi-instrumental identification and characterisation of equatorial magnetospheric regions at Saturn. This work emphasises the physical processes at work in each region and at their boundaries. The result of this study is a map of Saturn’s near equatorial magnetosphere, which represents a synthesis of our current understanding at the end of the Cassini Prime Mission of the global configuration of the equatorial magnetosphere.

Keywords

CassiniSaturnMagnetospheric regionsPlasma processes

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011