37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 20 Outer Planets I
Oral, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 9:00-10:30am, Law LG19

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[20.01] Recent Results of Ionospheric Occultations of the Cassini Spacecraft by Saturn

A. F. Nagy (U. of Michigan), A. J. Kliore (JPL), E. A. Marouf (San Jose State U.), R. G. French (Wellesley College), F. M. Flasar (GSFC/NASA), N. J. Rappaport, A. Anabtawi, S. W. Asmar, D. Johnston, E. Barbinis, D. Fleischman (JPL)

The first set of near-equatorial occultations of the Saturn ionosphere was obtained by the Cassini spacecraft earlier this year. The occultations occurred at low Southern latitudes (< 10 deg.) and covered solar zenith angles from about 84o to 97o. The exit observations correspond to dusk and the entry ones to dawn. An initial look at the data appears to indicate that the peak densities are lower and the peak altitude higher at dawn than at dusk, possibly the result of ionospheric decay during the night hours. There are also significant differences between individual dawn occultations; the initial thought is that this variation must be connected to changes in the water inflow into the upper atmosphere.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.