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Thomsen M.F.,Planetary Science Institute Tucson | Reisenfeld D.B.,University of Montana | Wilson R.J.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Andriopoulou M.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics

Interchange injection events are commonly observed by the Cassini spacecraft in the region between about 6 and 12 Rs (1 Rs=60,268km) and even frequently beyond. In this study, 13 examples of interchange injection events are identified in Cassini/Cassini Plasma Spectrometer data under special conditions such that time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectra could be obtained from entirely within the events. Using the TOF data to separate the main ion species H+, H2+, and W+, approximate densities of each species are calculated under the assumption that all distributions were isotropic. The light-ion density ratios, H2+/H+, in the injection events are not discernibly different from those ratios in control intervals from the ambient plasma. However, the water-group ratio, W+/H+, is significantly lower than ambient. The comparison of the measured density ratios with the range of values observed throughout Saturn's magnetosphere indicates that the values of W+/H+ that are as low as those observed within the injection events are found primarily beyond L~14 (where L is the equatorial crossing distance, in Saturn radius, of a dipole field line), indicating that the injection events are delivering plasma from the outer magnetosphere at times traveling at least 6 Rs. ©2014. American Geophysical Union. Source

Jackman C.M.,University of Southampton | Thomsen M.F.,Planetary Science Institute Tucson | Mitchell D.G.,Johns Hopkins University | Sergis N.,Academy of Athens Athens Greece | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics

We present a case study of an event from 20 August (day 232) of 2006, when the Cassini spacecraft was sampling the region near 32 RS and 22h LT in Saturn's magnetotail. Cassini observed a strong northward-to-southward turning of the magnetic field, which is interpreted as the signature of dipolarization of the field as seen by the spacecraft planetward of the reconnection X line. This event was accompanied by very rapid (up to ~1500kms-1) thermal plasma flow toward the planet. At energies above 28keV, energetic hydrogen and oxygen ion flow bursts were observed to stream planetward from a reconnection site downtail of the spacecraft. Meanwhile, a strong field-aligned beam of energetic hydrogen was also observed to stream tailward, likely from an ionospheric source. Saturn kilometric radiation emissions were stimulated shortly after the observation of the dipolarization. We discuss the field, plasma, energetic particle, and radio observations in the context of the impact this reconnection event had on global magnetospheric dynamics. ©2015. The Authors. Source

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