Distribution of water-group ion cyclotron waves in Saturn's magnetosphere 3. Space science

Marty Chou, Chio Zong Cheng

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The water-group ion cyclotron waves (ICWs) in Saturn's magnetosphere were studied using the magnetic field data provided by the MAG magnetometer on board the Cassini satellite. The period from January 2005 to December 2009, when the Cassini radial distance is smaller than 8 R S, was used. ICWs were identified by their left-hand circularly polarized magnetic perturbations and wave frequencies near the water-group ion gyrofrequencies. We obtained the spatial distribution of ICW amplitude and found that the source region of ICWs is mostly located in the low-latitude region, near the equator and inside the 6 R S radial distance. However, it can extend beyond 7 R S in the midnight region. In general, the wave amplitude is peaked slightly away from the equator, for all local time sectors in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. By assuming that the water-group ions are composed of pickup ions and background thermal ions, we obtained the local instability condition of the ICWs and estimated their growth rate along the field lines. If the wave amplitude is correlated with the growth rate, the observed latitudinal dependence of the wave amplitude can be well explained by the local stability analysis. Also, latitudinal location of the peak amplitude is found to depend on the local time. This implies a local time dependence for the water-group ion parallel temperature T|, as determined from the theoretical calculations. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number122
JournalEarth, Planets and Space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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