Fine Spectral Properties of Langmuir Waves Observed Upstream of the Saturn's Bowshock by the Cassini Wideband Receiver
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Langmuir waves are commonly observed in the upstream regions of planetary and interplanetary shock. Solar wind electrons accelerated at the shock front are reflected back into the solar wind and can form electron beams. In regions with beams, the electron distribution becomes unstable and electrostatic waves can be generated. The process of generation and the evolution of electrostatic waves strongly depends on the solar wind electron distribution and generally exhibits complex behavior. Langmuir waves can be identified as intense narrowband emission at a frequency very close to the local plasma frequency and weaker broadband waves below and above the plasma frequency deeper in the downstream region. We present a detailed study of Langmuir waves detected upstream of the Saturnian bowshock by the Cassini spacecraft. Using data from the Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS), Magnetometer (MAG) and Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) instruments we have analyzed several periods containing the extended waveform captures by the Wideband Receiver. Langmuir waves are a bursty emission highly controlled by variations in solar wind conditions. Unfortunately due to a combination of instrumental field of view and sampling period, it is often difficult to identify the electron distribution function that is unstable and able to generate Langmuir waves. We used an electrostatic version of particle-in-cell simulation of the Langmuir wave generation process to reproduce some of the more subtle observed spectral features and help understand the late stages of the instability and interactions in the solar wind plasma.