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New Magnetic Field Model for Saturn From Cassini Radio and Magnetometers Observations: The Birotor Dipole

Patrick H. M. Galopeau 1
LATMOS - Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales
Abstract : Since the insertion of Cassini in the Saturnian system in July 2004, the radio and plasma wave science (RPWS) experiment on board the spacecraft revealed the presence of two distinct and variable rotation periods in the Saturnian kilometric radiation (SKR) which were attributed to the northern and southern hemispheres respectively. The present study is based on the hypothesis that the periodic time modulations present in the SKR are mainly due to the rotation of Saturn's inner magnetic field. The existence of a double period implies that the inner field is not only limited to a simple rotation dipole but displays more complex structures having the same time periodicities than the radio emission. In order to build a model of this complex magnetic field, it is absolutely necessary to know the accurate phases of rotation linked with the two periods. The radio observations from the RPWS experiment allow a continuous and accurate follow-up of these rotation phases, since the SKR emission is permanently observable and produced very close to the planetary surface. A continuous wavelet transform analysis of the intensity of the SKR signal received at 290 kHz between July 2004 and June 2012 was performed in order to calculate in the same time the different periodicities and phases. The rotation phases associated to the main two periods allow us to define a North and South longitude system essential for such a study. In this context, a dipole model ("birotor dipole") was proposed for Saturn's inner magnetic field: this dipole presents the particularity to have North and South poles rotating around Saturn's axis at two different angular velocities; this dipole is tilted and not centered. 57 Cassini's revolutions, the periapsis of which is less than 5 Saturnian radii, have been selected for this study. For each of these chosen orbits, it is possible to fit with high precision the measurements of the MAG data experiment given by the magnetometers embarked on board Cassini. A nonrotating external magnetic field completes the model. This study suggests that Saturn's inner magnetic field is neither stationary nor fully axisymmetric. These results can be used as a boundary condition for modelling and constraining the planetary dynamo and they can be a starting point for the study of Saturn's inner structure and the comparison with the interior of Jupiter.
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Patrick H. M. Galopeau. New Magnetic Field Model for Saturn From Cassini Radio and Magnetometers Observations: The Birotor Dipole. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017, Dec 2017, New Orleans, United States. pp.#SM33C-2685. ⟨insu-02897006⟩



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