We report on the spectrum of field line resonances identified in data acquired by the Galileo spacecraft within Ganymede's magnetosphere on a relatively low latitude pass. We infer properties of the plasma distribution and its transport from the observed spectrum. The harmonic structure in the spectrum of the magnetometer data agrees very well with the frequencies predicted for resonances of a dipole field. The spectrum implies a density of 2 amu cm-3 near the equator on closed field lines of Ganymede's magnetic field inside of 2 RG (Ganymede radii). This density is significantly reduced relative to the local density of the Jovian plasma sheet near Ganymede (<=8 electrons cm-3, or ~100 amu cm-3 for an average ion mass per charge of 20 amu and average charge of 1.5 electron charges). A shadowing effect of Ganymede for the flow of particles injected at a reconnection layer on the side of the moon downstream relative to the direction of torus plasma flow accounts for the marked density depletion. Implications for conducting paths near Ganymede's surface are considered.
Journal of Geophysical Research
- Pub Date:
- July 1999
- Magnetospheric Physics: MHD waves and instabilities;
- Magnetospheric Physics: Magnetospheric configuration and dynamics;
- Planetology: Comets and Small Bodies: Plasma and MHD instabilities;
- Planetology: Solar System Objects: Jovian satellites