The Magnetic Field of Saturn: Pioneer 11 Observations

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Science  25 Jan 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4429, pp. 444-446
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4429.444


The intrinsic magnetic field of Saturn measured by the high-field fluxgate magnetometer is much weaker than expected. An analysis of preliminary data combined with the preliminary trajectory yield a model for the main planetary field which is a simple centered dipole of moment 0.20 ± 0.01 gauss-Rs3 = 4.3 ± 0.2 x 1028 gauss-cm3 (1 Rs = 1 Saturn radius = 60,000 km). The polarity is opposite that of Earth, and, surprisingly, the tilt is small, within 2° ± 1° of the rotation axis. The equatorial field intensity at the cloud tops is 0.2 gauss, and the polar intensity is 0.56 gauss. The unique moon Titan is expected to be located within the magnetosheath of Saturn or the interplanetary medium about 50 percent of the time because the average subsolar point distance to the magnetosphere is estimated to be 20 Rs, the orbital distance to Titan.