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Extreme densities in Titan's ionosphere during the T85 magnetosheath encounter

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • N. J. T. Edberg
  • D. J. Andrews
  • O. Shebanits
  • K. Ågren
  • J.-e. Wahlund
  • H. J. Opgenoorth
  • E. Roussos
  • P. Garnier
  • T. E. Cravens
  • S. V. Badman
  • R. Modolo
  • C. Bertucci
  • M. K. Dougherty
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/06/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Geophysical Research Letters
Issue number12
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)2879-2883
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We present Cassini Langmuir probe measurements of the highest electron number densities ever reported from the ionosphere of Titan. The measured density reached 4310 cm−3 during the T85 Titan flyby. This is at least 500 cm−3 higher than ever observed before and at least 50% above the average density for similar solar zenith angles. The peak of the ionospheric density is not reached on this flyby, making the maximum measured density a lower limit. During this flyby, we also report that an impacting coronal mass ejection (CME) leaves Titan in the magnetosheath of Saturn, where it is exposed to shocked solar wind plasma for at least 2 h 45 min. We suggest that the solar wind plasma in the magnetosheath during the CME conditions significantly modifies Titan's ionosphere by an addition of particle impact ionization by precipitating protons.

Bibliographic note

©2013. American Geophysical Union.