Titan׳s plasma environment: 3D hybrid kinetic modeling of the TA flyby and comparison with CAPS-ELS and RPWS LP observations





Citation of Original Publication

Lipatov, A. S., E. C. Sittler, R. E. Hartle, J. F. Cooper, and D. G. Simpson. “Titan׳s Plasma Environment: 3D Hybrid Kinetic Modeling of the TA Flyby and Comparison with CAPS-ELS and RPWS LP Observations.” Planetary and Space Science 93–94 (April 1, 2014): 119–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2014.02.012.


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In this report we discuss the global plasma environment of the TA flyby from the perspective of 3D hybrid modeling. In our model the background, pickup, and ionospheric ions are considered as particles, whereas the electrons are described as a fluid. Inhomogeneous photoionization, electron-impact ionization and charge exchange are included in our model. We also take into account the collisions between the ions and neutrals. Our modeling shows that mass loading of the background plasma (H⁺, O⁺) by pickup ions H⁺₂ , CH⁺₂, and N⁺₂ differs from the T9 encounter simulations when O⁺ ions are not introduced into the background plasma. In our hybrid modeling we use Chamberlain profiles for the atmospheric components. We also include a simple ionosphere model with average mass M=28 amu ions that were generated inside the ionosphere. Titan׳s interior is considered as a weakly conducting body. Special attention has been paid to comparing the simulated pickup ion density distribution with CAPS-ELS and with RPWS LP observations by the Cassini–Huygens spacecraft along the TA trajectory. Our modeling shows an asymmetry of the ion density distribution and the magnetic field, including the formation of Alfvén wing-like structures.