During Cassini's initial orbit, we observed a dynamic magnetosphere
composed primarily of a complex mixture of water-derived atomic and
molecular ions. We have identified four distinct regions characterized
by differences in both bulk plasma properties and ion composition.
Protons are the dominant species outside about 9 RS (where RS
is the radial distance from the center of Saturn), whereas inside, the
plasma consists primarily of a corotating comet-like mix of
water-derived ions with ∼3% N+. Over the A and B rings, we found an ionosphere in which O2+ and O+ are dominant, which suggests the possible existence of a layer of O2 gas similar to the atmospheres of Europa and Ganymede.
|Pages (from-to)||1262 - 1266|
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|