- Top of page
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Growth Phase and Plasmoid Formation
- 3. Dipolarization
- 4. Titan Control
- 5. Field Line Stretching Near Midnight
- 6. Summary and Conclusions
 Substorms play an important role in the energization and transport of plasmas in planetary magnetospheres, including the shedding of the mass added by moons in the case of Jupiter and Saturn. Mass shedding occurs through rapid reconnection in the near tail resulting in dipolarization on the magnetospheric side of the reconnection point and plasmoid formation down tail. Observations of these sudden reconnection events in Saturn’s near-tail region provide additional insight into this process. Saturnian substorms, at least on occasion, have a plasmoid formation phase leading to a traveling compression region. Changes in the field strength across reconnection events suggest that open flux has been removed from the tail. The timing of tail reconnection events appears to be controlled by both the orbital phase of Titan, and the variable stretching of the near-tail field as Saturn rotates.