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Energetic Neutral Atom Emissions from Titan Interaction with Saturn's Magnetosphere

Energetic Neutral Atom Emissions from Titan Interaction with Saturn's Magnetosphere

Publication date: 14 May 2005

Authors: Mitchell, D.G., et al.

Journal: Science
Volume: 308
Issue: 5724
Page: 989-992
Year: 2005

Copyright: Science Magazine

The Cassini Magnetospheric Imaging Instrument (MIMI) observed the interaction of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, with Saturn's magnetosphere during two close flybys of Titan on 26 October and 13 December 2004. The MIMI Ion and Neutral Camera (INCA) continuously imaged the energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) generated by charge exchange reactions between the energetic, singly ionized trapped magnetospheric ions and the outer atmosphere, or exosphere, of Titan. The images reveal a halo of variable ENA emission about Titan's nearly collisionless outer atmosphere that fades at larger distances as the exospheric density decays exponentially. The altitude of the emissions varies, and they are not symmetrical about the moon, reflecting the complexity of the interactions between Titan's upper atmosphere and Saturn's space environment.

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