The Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) instrument observed the plasma environment at Titan during the Cassini orbiter's TA encounter on October 26, 2004. Titan was in Saturn's magnetosphere during the Voyager 1 flyby and also during the TA encounter. CAPS measurements from this encounter are compared with measurements made by the Voyager 1 Plasma Science Instrument (PLS). The comparisons focus on the composition and nature of ambient and pickup ions. They lead to: A) the major ion components of Saturn's magnetosphere in the vicinity of Titan are H+, H2+ and O+/CH4+ ions; B) finite gyroradius effects are apparent in ambient O+ ions as the result of their absorption by Titan's extended atmosphere; C) the principal pickup ions are composed of H+, H2+, N+/ CH2+, CH4+, and N2+; D) the pickup ions are in narrow energy ranges; and E) there is clear evidence of the slowing down of background ions due to pickup ion mass loading.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)