Force balance in the magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn

  • McNutt R
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Spacecraft measurements of the plasma populations and magnetic fields near Jupiter and Saturn have revealed that large magnetospheres surround both planets. Magnetic field measurements have indicated closed field line topologies in the dayside magnetospheres of both planets while plasma instruments have shown these regions to be populated by both hot and cold plasma components convected azimuthally in the sense of planetary rotation. By using published data from the Voyager Plasma Science (PLS), Low Energy Charged Particle (LECP), and Magnetometer (MAG) instruments, it is possible to investigate the validity of the time stationary MHD momentum equation in the middle magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. At Saturn, the hot plasma population is negligible in the dynamic sense and the centrifugal force of the cold rotating plasma appears to balance the Lorentz force. At Jupiter, the centrifugal force balances ∼25% of the Lorentz force. The remaining inward Lorentz force is balanced by pressure gradients in the hot, high-β plasma of the Jovian magnetodisk. © 1983.

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  • R. L. McNutt

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