Interchange Injections at Saturn: Statistical Survey of Energetic H+ Sudden Flux Intensifications

Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2018

Recommended citation: Azari, A. R., Liemohn, M. W., Jia, X., Thomsen, M. F., Mitchell, D. G., Sergis, N., et al. (2018). "Interchange injections at Saturn: Statistical survey of energetic H+ sudden flux intensifications." Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 123, 4692–4711.

The associated event list is on the Michigan Deep Blue Data Respository.

Studying high‐energy particles around magnetized planets is essential to understanding processes behind mass transport in planetary systems. Saturn’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, is sourced from a large amount of low‐energy water particles from Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. Saturn’s magnetosphere also undergoes large rotational forces from Saturn’s short day and massive size. The rotational forces and dense internal mass source drive interchange injections, or the injection of high‐energy particles closer to the planet as low‐energy water particles from the inner magnetosphere are transported outward. There have been many strides toward understanding the occurrence rates of interchange injections, but it is still unknown how interchange events are triggered. We present a computational method to identify and rank interchange injections using high‐energy particle fluxes from the Cassini mission to Saturn. These events have never been identified computationally, and the resulting database is now publically available. We find that the peak rates of interchange occur between 7 and 9 Saturn radii and that this range coincides with the highest intensity events. We also find that interchange occurrence rates peak on the nightside of Saturn. Through this study, we identify the potential mechanisms behind interchange events and advance our understanding of mass transport around planets.

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