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Distribution and Properties of Magnetic Flux Ropes in Titan's Ionosphere

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
Article numbere2019JA027570
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/04/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number4
Volume125
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Titan's magnetic environment is a dynamic and unique place. We detect 85 flux ropes during all the Cassini flybys of Titan from 2005–2017. Analysis describing the location of flux ropes in Titan's ionosphere as well as where Titan is in Saturn's magnetosphere shows that the flux ropes are more often found when Titan is in the noon sector of Saturn's magnetosphere. A secondary peak of occurrence is found in the postmidnight area, where it is expected that Saturn's magnetosphere is highly dynamic. We also find that the flux rope occurrence is correlated with the average electron density profile of Titan's ionosphere. A force-free model is utilized to estimate the radii and core magnetic field strength of the flux ropes. We find a large range of radii from 150–500 km with a small number of very large flux ropes (500–1,000 km) and a range of core field strengths of 1–15 nT, again with some much larger values(20–40 nT). The model also shows that more flux ropes are right-handed than left-handed in twist; however, we are unable to determine if there is a physical reason or if this is due to an observer bias. Additionally, we evaluate the goodness of fit for the model in each instance and conclude that, on average, the flux ropes may be better represented by a non-force-free model.