Student project at IRF Uppsala
| INSTITUTET FÖR RYMDFYSIK
| Swedish Institute of Space Physics
| (59°50.272′N, 17°38.786′E)
Advanced project in physics (10c)/Fysikprojekt (10hp)
Motion of icy grains originating in Saturn’s D-ring
Student: Apostolos Kolokotronis,
Michiko Morooka, Erik Vigren
Period: Spring 2023
Saturn's rings have long been thought to provide the planetary atmosphere with infalling material, affecting both its chemical composition and physical properties (e.g. temperature). As in-situ measurements of this material have been realized during the Grand Finale orbits of the Cassini spacecraft, icy grains falling from the innermost, D ring, towards the planet have been detected. In this work we are simulating the trajectories of these grains, starting from the D ring, moving under the influence of the planetary magnetic and gravitational fields. The atmospheric drag force that acts on them while traveling through the Saturn's atmosphere is also implemented and the grains apart from losing kinetic energy, are also getting sublimated. Our results suggest that in a constant electric potential of typical values for the ambient plasma around Saturn, the grains tend to move towards the southern hemisphere, with the negatively charged ones ending up in low to mid latitudes, whereas the positive ones follow a spiraling motion and fall close to the south pole.
Example of dust grain trajectories around Saturn.
last modified on Friday, 24-Nov-2023 14:20:27 CET