GCR as a source for Inner radiation belt of Saturn.

Monday, 15 December 2014
Anna Kotova1, Elias Roussos2, Norbert Krupp2 and Iannis Dandouras3, (1)University Paul Sabatier Toulouse III, Toulouse Cedex 09, France, (2)Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, (3)IRAP, Toulouse, Italy
During the insertion orbit of Cassini in 2004 the Ion and Neutron Camera measured significant fluxes of the energetic neutral atoms (ENA) coming from the area between the D-ring and the Saturn’s atmosphere, what brought up the idea of the possible existence of the innermost radiation belt in this narrow gap (1).

There are two main sources of energetic charged particles for such inner radiation belt: the interaction of the Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) with the Saturn’s atmosphere and rings, which due to CRAND process can produce the keV-MeV ions or electrons in the region, and the double charge exchange of the ENAs, coming from the middle magnetosphere, what can bring the keV ions to the region of our interest.

Using the particles tracer, which was developed in our group, and GEANT4 software, we study in details those two processes. With a particle tracer we evaluate the GCR access to the Saturn atmosphere and rings. Simulation of the GCR trajectories allows to calculate the energy spectra of the arriving energetic particles, which is much more accurate, compare to the analytically predicted spectra using the Stoermer theory, since simulation includes effects of the ring shadow and non-dipolar processes in the magnetosphere. Using the GEANT4 software the penetration of the GCR through the matter of rings was simulated, and the production of secondaries particles was estimated. Finally, the motion of secondaries was simulated using the particles tracer, and evaluation of the energy spectrum of neutrons the decay of which leads to the production of final CRAND elements in the inner Saturnian radiation belts was done. We show that for inner radiation belt most energetic ions comes from GCR interaction with rings, it’s penetration and from interaction of secondaries with Saturn’s atmosphere.

This simulation allows us to predict the fluxes of energetic ions and electrons, which particle detector MIMI/LEMMS onboard the Cassini can measure during the so-called “proximal” orbits in 2017, when the Cassini spacecraft will pass directly through this diverse and enigmatic region extremely close to the planet.


(1) S. M. Krimigis et al., “Dynamics of Saturn's Magnetosphere from MIMI During Cassini's Orbital Insertion”, Science 25 February 2005: 307 (5713), 1270-1273.