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    Rights statement: Accepted for publication in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. Copyright 2016 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.

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Cassini observations of Saturn’s southern polar cusp

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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  • Christopher Stephen Arridge
  • J. M. Jasinski
  • Nicholas Achilleos
  • Y. V. Bogdanova
  • E. J. Bunce
  • S. W. H. Cowley
  • A. N. Fazakerley
  • K. K. Khurana
  • Laurent Lamy
  • J. S. Leisner
  • E. Roussos
  • C. T. Russell
  • P. Zarka
  • A. J. Coates
  • M. K. Dougherty
  • Geraint H. Jones
  • S.M. Krimigis
  • Norbert Krupp
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number4
Volume121
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)3006-3030
<mark>State</mark>Published
Early online date2/02/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The magnetospheric cusps are important sites of the coupling of a magnetosphere with the solar wind. The combination of both ground- and space-based observations at Earth have enabled considerable progress to be made in understanding the terrestrial cusp and its role in the coupling of the magnetosphere to the solar wind via the polar magnetosphere. Voyager 2 fully explored Neptune’s cusp in 1989 but highly inclined orbits of the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn present the most recent opportunity to repeatedly studying the polar magnetosphere of a rapidly rotating planet. In this paper we discuss observations made by Cassini during two passes through Saturn’s southern polar magnetosphere. Our main findings are that i) Cassini directly encounters the southern polar cusp with evidence for the entry of magnetosheath plasma into the cusp via magnetopause reconnection, ii) magnetopause reconnection and entry of plasma into the cusp can occur over a range of solar wind conditions, and iii) double cusp morphologies are consistent with the position of the cusp oscillating in phase with Saturn’s global magnetospheric periodicities.

Bibliographic note

Accepted for publication in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. Copyright 2016 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.