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6 - Global Configuration and Seasonal Variations of Saturn’s Magnetosphere

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 December 2018

Kevin H. Baines
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, Madison
F. Michael Flasar
Affiliation:
NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center
Norbert Krupp
Affiliation:
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Göttingen
Tom Stallard
Affiliation:
University of Leicester
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Summary

Our understanding of Saturn’s magnetosphere has been drastically changed over the last decade, since the arrival of Cassini, the first spacecraft to go into orbit around the planet. The trajectory of Cassini allowed the Saturnian magnetosphere to be studied both in the equatorial plane and at high latitudes, in a wide range of radial distances and local time sectors. This chapter reviews the current picture of Saturn’s global magnetospheric configuration and describes the local fields and particle properties in key regions like the radiation belts and the inner, middle and outer magnetosphere. The moon Enceladus, deep in the magnetosphere, is the major source of neutrals and charged particles in the magnetosphere, and in this chapter we describe how the particles are generated, transported and lost within the highly dynamic magnetosphere. We also describe how both particles and fields in the Saturnian magnetosphere vary with time, both on shorter timescales and with Saturn’s seasons. We highlight some of the most recent findings and discoveries, including a formerly unknown electric field oriented in the noon-midnight direction. Finally, we discuss magnetospheric measurements planned for the final sequence of the Cassini mission in 2017, called the “Grand Finale,” along with a list of open questions to be solved by future missions.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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