Table of contents
About this book
This volume reviews what we know of the corresponding plasma source for each intrinsically magnetized planet. Plasma sources fall essentially in three categories: the solar wind, the ionosphere (both prevalent on Earth), and the satellite-related sources.Throughout the text, the case of each planet is described, including the characteristics, chemical composition and intensity of each source. The authors also describe how the plasma generated at the source regions is transported to populate the magnetosphere, and how it is later lost. To summarize, the dominant sources are found to be the solar wind and sputtered surface ions at Mercury, the solar wind and ionosphere at Earth (the relative importance of the two being discussed in a specific introductory chapter), Io at Jupiter and – a big surprise of the Cassini findings – Enceladus at Saturn. The situation for Uranus and Neptune, which were investigated by only one fly-by each, is still open and requires further studies and exploration. In the final chapter, the book offers a summary of the little we know of Uranus and Neptune, then summarizes in a comparative way what we know of plasma sources throughout the solar system, and proposes directions for future research.
Originally published in Space Science Reviews, Vol. 192, Issues 1-4, 2015