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Geophysical Research Letters

Saturn's magnetospheric dynamics

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Abstract

[1] The dynamics of Saturn's magnetosphere are driven by two major features of the system: First, the dominant source of magnetospheric plasma is the icy moon Enceladus, located deep within the magnetosphere; and second, like Jupiter, Saturn is a very fast rotator, with a rotational period of only 10.7 h. The dynamical imperative is to rid the magnetosphere of the continuously supplied plasma, and the fast rotation provides the mechanisms to do so. Thus, magnetospheric dynamics are intimately related to mass transport processes, including radial diffusion, flux tube interchange, magnetic reconnection, and plasmoid formation. We review recent progress and new questions relating to these processes at Saturn.

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