EGU21-6424, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The conductive dusty ionosphere of Saturn

Oleg Shebanits1, Lina Hadid1, Hao Cao3,4, Michiko Morooka1, Michele Dougherty2, Jan-Erik Wahlund1, Gregory Hunt2, Hunter Waite5, and Ingo Müller-Wodarg
Oleg Shebanits et al.
  • 1Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Sweden
  • 2Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, UK
  • 3Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, USA
  • 4Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, USA
  • 5Southwest Research Institute, Space Science and Engineering Division, USA

Cassini’s Grand Finale orbits brought us historical first in-situ measurements of Saturn’s ionosphere, showing that it contains dusty plasma in the equatorial region. We present the Pedersen and Hall conductivities of the top ionosphere (10:50 – 12:17 Saturn Local Time, 10N – 20S planetocentric latitude), derived from particle and magnetometer data. We constrain the Pedersen conductivities to be at least 10-5 – 10-4 S/m at ionospheric peak, a factor 10-100 higher than estimated previously by remote measurements, while the Hall conductivities are very close to 0 or in fact negative. We show that this is an effect of dusty plasma. Another effect is that ionospheric dynamo region thickness is increased to 300-800 km. Furthermore, our results suggest a temporal variation (decrease) of the plasma densities, mean ion masses and consequently the conductivities over the period of one month.

How to cite: Shebanits, O., Hadid, L., Cao, H., Morooka, M., Dougherty, M., Wahlund, J.-E., Hunt, G., Waite, H., and Müller-Wodarg, I.: The conductive dusty ionosphere of Saturn, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6424,, 2021.

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