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Analysis of a giant lightning storm on Saturn

Fischer, G. and Kurth, W. S. and Dyudina, U. A. and Kaiser, M. L. and Zarka, P. and Lecacheux, A. and Ingersoll, A. P. and Gurnett, D. A. (2007) Analysis of a giant lightning storm on Saturn. Icarus, 190 (2). pp. 528-544. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.04.002.

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On January 23, 2006, the Cassini/RPWS (Radio and Plasma Wave Science) instrument detected a massive outbreak of SEDs (Saturn Electrostatic Discharges). The following SED storm lasted for about one month and consisted of 71 consecutive episodes. It exceeded all other previous SED observations by Cassini as well as by the Voyagers with regard to number and rate of detected events. At the same time astronomers at the Earth as well as Cassini/ISS (Imaging Science Subsystem) detected a distinctive bright atmospheric cloud feature at a latitude of 35° South, strongly confirming the current interpretation of SEDs being the radio signatures of lightning flashes in Saturn's atmosphere. In this paper we will analyze the main physical properties of this SED storm and of a single small SED storm from 2005. The giant SED storm of 2006 had maximum burst rates of 1 SED every 2 s, its episodes lasted for 5.5 h on average, and the episode's periodicity of about 10.66 h exactly matched the period of the ISS observed cloud feature. Using the low frequency cutoff of SED episodes we determined an ionospheric electron density around 10^4 cm^(−3) for the dawn side of Saturn.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Fischer, G.0000-0002-0431-2381
Ingersoll, A. P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Additional Information:© 2007 Elsevier Inc. Received 13 November 2006; revised 27 March 2007; available online 18 April 2007. The authors wish to thank Jean-Luc Dauvergne and Erick Bondoux from France, astronomers from the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, Jim Phillips from the USA, and Ralf Vandebergh from the Netherlands for sacrificing their sleep for science and performing telescope observations of Saturn during the night. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers for their suggestions. The research at The University of Iowa was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through Contract 1279973 with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
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Subject Keywords:Saturn; Lightning; Saturn, atmosphere; Radio observations
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130123-111249376
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Official Citation:G. Fischer, W.S. Kurth, U.A. Dyudina, M.L. Kaiser, P. Zarka, A. Lecacheux, A.P. Ingersoll, D.A. Gurnett, Analysis of a giant lightning storm on Saturn, Icarus, Volume 190, Issue 2, October 2007, Pages 528-544, ISSN 0019-1035, 10.1016/j.icarus.2007.04.002.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36536
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:23 Jan 2013 21:37
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:22

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