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Is a Rikitake Dynamo in Saturn’s Interior at the Origin of the Variability of the Radio Rotation Periods?

Patrick H. M. Galopeau 1 
LATMOS - Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales
Abstract : Recent observations performed by the radio and plasma wave science (RPWS) experiment on board the Cassini spacecraft have revealed the presence of two distinct and variable spin modulation periods (10.6 hours and 10.8 hours) in Saturn’s radio emissions emanating from the northern and southern hemispheres respectively. The main time modulation of planetary radio emissions has always been attributed to the effect on the inner magnetosphere of the internal magnetic field which rigidly rotates with the deep interior of the planet. The magnetospheric plasma is supposed to be frozen in this magnetic field so that a north/south asymmetry in the radio modulation period should never be observed. However Saturn’s magnetic field is very particular since its dipolar moment is nearly aligned with the rotation axis of the planet. Such an alignment could bring out some phenomena in the internal structure which are masked in the case of other magnetized planets the magnetic dipole of which is significantly tilted. The existence of two separated and slowly varying periods in the saturnian magnetic field could be the signature of a dynamo the dynamics of which is governed by a Rikitake system.
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Patrick H. M. Galopeau. Is a Rikitake Dynamo in Saturn’s Interior at the Origin of the Variability of the Radio Rotation Periods?. Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Planetary, Solar and Heliospheric Radio Emissions, Sep 2010, Graz, Austria. pp.65-72, ⟨10.1553/PRE7s65⟩. ⟨insu-02896938⟩



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