Observations of Energetic Ions and Electrons in Saturn's Magnetosphere

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  25 Jan 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4429, pp. 421-425
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4429.421


The passage of Pioneer 11 by Saturn provided a detailed view of a planetary magnetosphere that is intermediate between those of Jupiter and Earth in both scale and the complexity of its dynamic processes. It appears to have at least three distinct regions: (i) an outer magnetosphere, extending from 17 to 7.5 Saturn radii, that resembles that of Earth in many important aspects; (ii) a slot region, between 7.5 and 4 Saturn radii, where a marked decrease in all protons and low-energy electrons is observed; and (iii) an inner region, extending from 4 Saturn radii to the ring edge, that features a sharp increase in the proton flux extending to energies greater than 20 million electron volts. A cutoff of both proton and electron fluxes occurred just beyond the nominal edge of the A ring.