Energetic Charged Particles in the Uranian Magnetosphere

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Science  04 Jul 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4759, pp. 93-97
DOI: 10.1126/science.233.4759.93


During the encounter with Uranus, the cosmic ray system on Voyager 2 measured significant fluxes of energetic electrons and protons in the regions of the planets magnetosphere where these particles could be stably trapped. The radial distribution of electrons with energies of megaelectron volts is strongly modulated by the sweeping effects ofthe three major inner satellites Miranda, Ariel, and Umbriel. The phase space density gradient of these electrons indicates that they are diffusing radially inward from a source in the outer magnetosphere or magnetotail. Differences in the energy spectra of protons having energies of approximately 1 to 8 megaelectron volts from two different directions indicate a strong dependence on pitch angle. From the locations of the absorption signatures observed in the electron flux, a centered dipole model for the magnetic field of Uranus with a tilt of 60.1 degrees has been derived, and a rotation period of the planet of 17.4 hours has also been calculated. This model provides independent confirmaton of more precise determinations made by other Voyager experiments.

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