Searching for Titan’s tail

Student Project (15 c)
Student: Joakim Kvarnström, Uppsala University
Supervisor: Niklas Edberg
Period: Spring 2018

Abstract

We have used Cassini measurements of electron density from Saturn’s magnetosphere to search for a plasma tail behind the moon Titan. Such a plasma tail would consist of plasma that manage to escape Titan’s gravitational pull and leave Titan’s ionosphere to contribute to the plasma distribution in the Saturn system. The Cassini spacecraft was in orbit around Saturn for 13 years and performed 127 close flybys of Titan as well as many passes through Titan’s orbit within the planets plasma-filled magnetosphere. We have used measurements of electron density from the Langmuir probe instrument, built by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Uppsala to search for such a tail. The data was analyzed in terms of looking at the spatial distribution of plasma around Titan and Saturn by examining the plasma density in Titan’s orbit in comparison to the rest of system, as well as comparisons of plasma density in front of Titan

Results

Final report

[Spectral index map]
Map of plasma density found in Saturn’s magnetosheath, with Titan’s orbit indicated in red..