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Interplanetary magnetic field structure at Saturn inferred from nanodust measurements during the 2013 aurora campaign

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • H.-W. Hsu
  • S. Kempf
  • S.V. Badman
  • W.S. Kurth
  • F. Postberg
  • R. Srama
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/01/2016
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)10-16
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/03/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Interactions between the solar wind and planetary magnetospheres provide important diagnostic information about the magnetospheric dynamics. The lack of monitoring of upstream solar wind conditions at the outer planets, however, restrains the overall scientific output. Here we apply a new method, using Cassini nanodust stream measurements, to derive the interplanetary magnetic field structure during the 2013 Saturn aurora campaign. Due to the complex dynamical interactions with the interplanetary magnetic field, a fraction of fast nanodust particles emerging from the Saturnian system is sent back into the magnetosphere and can be detected by a spacecraft located within. The time-dependent directionality caused by the variable interplanetary magnetic field enable these particles to probe the solar wind structure remotely. Information about the arrival time of solar wind compression regions (coupled with the heliospheric current sheet crossings) as well as the field direction associated with the solar wind sector structure can be inferred. Here we present a tentative identification of the interplanetary magnetic field sector structure based on Cassini nanodust and radio emission measurements during the 2013 Saturn aurora campaign. Our results show that, the interplanetary magnetic field near Saturn during 2013-080 to 176 was consistent with a two-sector structure. The intensifications of aurora and the radio emission on 2013-095, 112 and 140 coincide with the IMF sector boundaries, indicating that the encounter of the compressed solar wind is the main cause of the observed activities.