36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 6 Titan I: Surface, Troposphere, etc.
Oral, Monday, November 8, 2004, 3:30-6:00pm, Clark

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[6.14] Characteristics of Pickup Ions in Titanís Upper Atmosphere and Escape of Nitrogen

M. Michael, R.E. Johnson (University of Virginia, Charlottesvile, VA, USA), S.A. Ledvina (University of California, Berkely, USA.)

The distribution of 14 amu and 28-29 amu pickup ions with depth into Titanís atmosphere have calculated by Ledvina et al. (2004) and Brecht et al. (2000). Here we study the interaction of these ions with molecules in the upper atmosphere of Titan. As its environment is highly variable, Titan can be within Saturnís magnetosphere or can interact directly with the solar wind. These pickup ions follow the corresponding magnetic field as they penetrate into the atmosphere. The magnetic field strength considered here are 5.1 nT and 0.5 nT when Titan is inside the magnetosphere and in the solar wind respectively. The incident pick up ions collide with atmospheric neutrals. After they charge exchange, they are tracked under the influence of Titanís gravitational field. The energetic ions and neutral impart energy to the molecules in the Titanís atmosphere causing ejection, bond breaking and heating. Predictions will be made for the Cassini Titan flyby. The model described is flexible to incorporate that data as it becomes available.


Brecht, S.H., J.G. Luhmann, and D.J. Larson, Simulation of the Saturnian magnetospheric interaction with Titan, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 13119-13130, 2000.

Ledvina, S.A., S.H. Brecht, J.G. Luhmann, Ion distribution of 14 amu pickup ions associated with Titanís plasma interaction, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L17S10, 10.1029/2004GL019861, 2004.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: mm2eq@virginia.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.