Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2009GL039621, 2009; http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009GL039621
5. Flapping sheet affects Saturn's magnetism
In recent years, NASA's Cassini satellite has found interesting activity in Saturn's magnetosphere that has attracted scientists' attention. Periodic motions in the north-south component of the magnetic field in Saturn's magnetotail have been observed, and some scientists have interpreted them as indicating the passage of large-scale plasma and magnetic field structures known as plasmoids. However, others have suggested that the motions may instead represent a regular wavering of Saturn's current sheet, which separates outward and inward pointing regions of Saturn's magnetic field. To clarify the issue, Jackman et al. analyze data from two intervals when Cassini was in Saturn's magnetotail. Their study indicates that the small periodic deflections of the magnetic field can be interpreted as due to normal periodic flapping of Saturn's current sheet. This is in contrast to the larger, rarer observations of plasmoids in Saturn's magnetotail. The authors believe that the analysis will help scientists better understand the dynamics of Saturn's magnetotail.
Title: Northward field excursions in Saturn's magnetotail and their relationship to magnetospheric periodicities
C. M. Jackman: Space and Atmospheric Physics Group, Imperial College London, London, UK; C. S. Arridge: Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Department of Space and Climate Physics, University College London, Dorking, UK and Cent
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American Geophysical Union