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Mapping Saturn's nightside plasma sheet using Cassini's proximal orbits

  • Sergis, N
  • Achilleos, N
  • Guio, P
  • Arridge, CS
  • Sorba, AM
  • Roussos, E
  • Krimigis, SM
  • Paranicas, C
  • Hamilton, DC
  • Krupp, N
  • Mitchell, DG
  • Dougherty, MK
  • Balasis, G
  • Giannakis, O
Publication Date
Jun 29, 2018
DOI: 10.1029/2018GL078141
UPCommons. Portal del coneixement obert de la UPC


Between April and the end of its mission on 15 September, Cassini executed a series of 22 very similar 6.5‐day‐period proximal orbits, covering the mid‐latitude region of the nightside magnetosphere. These passes provided us with the opportunity to examine the variability of the nightside plasma sheet within this time scale for the first time. We use Cassini particle and magnetic field data to quantify the magnetospheric dynamics along these orbits, as reflected in the variability of certain relevant plasma parameters, including the energetic ion pressure and partial (hot) plasma beta. We use the University College London/Achilleos‐Guio‐Arridge magnetodisk model to map these quantities to the conjugate magnetospheric equator, thus providing an equivalent equatorial radial profile for these parameters. By quantifying the variation in the plasma parameters, we further identify the different states of the nightside ring current (quiescent and disturbed) in order to confirm and add to the context previously established by analogous studies based on long‐term, near‐equatorial measurements.

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