Global configuration of Saturn's magnetic field derived from observations

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Abstract

[1] Magnetic field observations from the Cassini spacecraft are averaged into 1 × 1 RS (1 RS = 60238 km) meridional bins at Saturn. A Runge-Kutta procedure uses the bin-averaged field components to estimate the global configuration of Saturn's magnetic field and map field lines from the equator to Saturn's ionosphere. Within ∼18 RS of Saturn, the mapping gives a good representation of the meridional shape of Saturn's magnetic field and confirms that beyond L ∼ 6, the field departs from a dipole and becomes a smoothly-warped magnetodisk. The disk warps upwards by as much as ∼1 RS at radial distances of ∼15 RS, with the warping increasing with radial distance. When traced back to Saturn, the bin average field lines intersect the ionosphere at latitudes similar to those expected on the basis of recent magnetic field models; the ionospheric pierce latitudes can differ by as much as 6° from those expected from a simple offset dipole.

Ancillary