Multifluid MHD Simulation of Saturn’s Interchange Fingers

Friday, 19 December 2014
Nicholas Lucas1, Ashok Rajendar1 and Carol S Paty2, (1)Georgia Institute of Technology Main Campus, Atlanta, GA, United States, (2)Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA, United States
Saturn’s magnetosphere exhibits rich dynamics that have only become apparent through recent missions such as the Cassini mission currently in progress. Examining local time variations in the magnetosphere has shown some interesting phenomena. One of the primary expressions of the dynamics we observe in Saturn’s magnetosphere are plasma interchange fingers. These fingers carry hot plasma from the outer magnetosphere to the inner magnetosphere to balance magnetic flux lost due to outward radial transport of cold dense plasma sourced from the neutral cloud. This process leads to a mixing of hot and cold plasma throughout the magnetosphere. Understanding how mass interchange fingers form and quantifying how the plasma they contain is heated and transported will be important for understanding other dynamic processes occurring in the magnetosphere.

In this study, we will be using our existing multifluid simulation of Saturn’s magnetosphere in combination with data from the Cassini mission in order to investigate the formation of plasma interchange fingers and their dynamics. Our results will be compared with observations as well as previous modeling studies of Saturn’s interchange fingers.