Ionization balance in Titan's nightside ionosphere

E. Vigren, M. Galand, Roger Yelle, A. Wellbrock, A. J. Coates, D. Snowden, J. Cui, P. Lavvas, N. J T Edberg, O. Shebanits, J. E. Wahlund, V. Vuitton, K. Mandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Based on a multi-instrumental Cassini dataset we make model versus observation comparisons of plasma number densities, nP=(nenI)1/2 (ne and nI being the electron number density and total positive ion number density, respectively) and short-lived ion number densities (N+, CH2+, CH3+, CH4+) in the southern hemisphere of Titan's nightside ionosphere over altitudes ranging from 1100 and 1200km and from 1100 to 1350km, respectively. The nP model assumes photochemical equilibrium, ion-electron pair production driven by magnetospheric electron precipitation and dissociative recombination as the principal plasma neutralization process. The model to derive short-lived-ion number densities assumes photochemical equilibrium for the short-lived ions, primary ion production by electron-impact ionization of N2 and CH4 and removal of the short-lived ions through reactions with CH4. It is shown that the models reasonably reproduce the observations, both with regards to nP and the number densities of the short-lived ions. This is contrasted by the difficulties in accurately reproducing ion and electron number densities in Titan's sunlit ionosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-546
Number of pages8
JournalIcarus
Volume248
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Fingerprint

Titan
ionospheres
ionosphere
ionization
ion
ions
electron
electron precipitation
electrons
plasma
Southern Hemisphere
pair production
positive ions
neutralization
electron impact
recombination

Keywords

  • Ionospheres
  • Titan
  • Titan, atmosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Vigren, E., Galand, M., Yelle, R., Wellbrock, A., Coates, A. J., Snowden, D., ... Mandt, K. (2015). Ionization balance in Titan's nightside ionosphere. Icarus, 248, 539-546. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2014.11.012

Ionization balance in Titan's nightside ionosphere. / Vigren, E.; Galand, M.; Yelle, Roger; Wellbrock, A.; Coates, A. J.; Snowden, D.; Cui, J.; Lavvas, P.; Edberg, N. J T; Shebanits, O.; Wahlund, J. E.; Vuitton, V.; Mandt, K.

In: Icarus, Vol. 248, 01.03.2015, p. 539-546.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Vigren, E, Galand, M, Yelle, R, Wellbrock, A, Coates, AJ, Snowden, D, Cui, J, Lavvas, P, Edberg, NJT, Shebanits, O, Wahlund, JE, Vuitton, V & Mandt, K 2015, 'Ionization balance in Titan's nightside ionosphere', Icarus, vol. 248, pp. 539-546. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2014.11.012
Vigren E, Galand M, Yelle R, Wellbrock A, Coates AJ, Snowden D et al. Ionization balance in Titan's nightside ionosphere. Icarus. 2015 Mar 1;248:539-546. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2014.11.012
Vigren, E. ; Galand, M. ; Yelle, Roger ; Wellbrock, A. ; Coates, A. J. ; Snowden, D. ; Cui, J. ; Lavvas, P. ; Edberg, N. J T ; Shebanits, O. ; Wahlund, J. E. ; Vuitton, V. ; Mandt, K. / Ionization balance in Titan's nightside ionosphere. In: Icarus. 2015 ; Vol. 248. pp. 539-546.
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