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Comptes Rendus Physique
Volume 7, n° 2
pages 301-306 (mars 2006)
Doi : 10.1016/j.crhy.2006.03.001
Received : 13 July 2005 ;  accepted : 1 Mars 2006
Le halo ionosphérique autour des anneaux de Saturne
The ionospheric halo around Saturnʼs rings
 

Mehdi Bouhram a, , Jean-Jacques Berthelier a, Jean-Marie Illiano a, Robert E. Johnson b, Robert L. Tokar c, Frank J. Crary d, Dave T. Young d
a Centre dʼétude des environnements terrestre et planétaires, 4, avenue de Neptune, 94100 Saint-Maur des Fossés, France 
b Material science and engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA 
c Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA 
d Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78238, USA 

Auteur correspondant.
Résumé

Le survol des anneaux A et B de Saturne par la sonde Cassini lors de son insertion sur son orbite autour de la planète a révélé lʼexistence dʼun halo ionosphérique composé dʼions O+ et  . Ces observations peuvent sʼexpliquer par la présence dʼune atmosphère dʼoxygène moléculaire O2 autour des anneaux créé par décomposition photolytique de la glace constituant les grains. Lʼexistence de cette atmosphère est rendue possible par la propriété des molécules dʼoxygène de ne pas coller à la glace dans les conditions de température des grains et par conséquent de ne pas être perdues lors de leurs collisions avec les grains. Nous présentons un modèle utilisant une approche particulaire pour traiter le transport des neutres et des ions et les différents processus physico-chimiques. Ce modèle rend compte de façon très satisfaisante des observations. Pour citer cet article : M. Bouhram et al., C. R. Physique 7 (2006).

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.
Abstract

During its insertion on an orbit around Saturn, the Cassini orbiter flew above the A and B rings and observations have revealed the presence of an ionosphere composed of O+ and   ions. These observations can be explained by the presence around the rings of an atmospheric halo made up of molecular oxygen produced by the photolytic decomposition of the ice which constitutes the grains. At the temperature of the ring particles, oxygen molecules do not stick on the ice and thus are not lost during collisions with grains. A model of the formation of the ionospheric halo is presented based on a test-particle approach to describe the transport and the physical and chemical mechanisms that play an essential role. This model provides a very satisfactory fit with the data. To cite this article: M. Bouhram et al., C. R. Physique 7 (2006).

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Mots-clés : Planétologie, Plasmas, Saturne, Anneaux planétaires, Ionosphère

Keywords : Planetary science, Plasmas, Saturn, Planetary rings, Ionosphere




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