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NAM2012 - All Presentation Details

Record 540 of 756

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Surface charging on small bodies: likely detection at Saturn’s icy moon Hyperion

Author: Tom Nordheim

Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London

Co-Authors: G.H. Jones(1,2); A.J. Coates(1,2); J.S. Leisner(3); W.S. Kurth(3); K.K. Khurana (4);E. Roussos(5); N.Krupp(6); F.J. Crary(7) 1 - Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London 2 - The Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck 3 - Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa 4 - Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, UCLA 5 - Max Planck Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Germany 6 - Southwest Research Institute

Session: PL1: Small bodies in Our Solar System

Presentation type: Talk      14:30  Tuesday 27th 14:15-15:30 


Hyperion is an irregular moon of Saturn with a longest axis measuring 360 km. Studies of this icy body can be highly relevant to our understanding of small bodies elsewhere in the Solar System. The Cassini spacecraft conducted its only targeted flyby of Hyperion on September 26, 2005. When examining data from the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) in the time interval around closest approach, a field-aligned electron population was discovered. It is suggested that this electron feature is associated with surface charging processes, and in fact, constitutes a remote detection of the surface potential associated with an area of Hyperion’s surface. This theory will be discussed in the context of observations made using the CAPS instrument as well as complementary observations by other Cassini instruments. Surface charging is thought to be an ubiquitous process in the Solar System, affecting objects embedded within magnetospheric as well as solar wind plasma, and thought to lead to the levitation and transport of surface material under certain circumstances. Studies of surface charging at Saturn’s icy moons may therefore be of direct relevance to similar processes thought to occur on other Solar System bodies, such as moons, comets and asteroids.

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