Magnetic Field Studies by Voyager 2: Preliminary Results at Saturn

Science. 1982 Jan 29;215(4532):558-63. doi: 10.1126/science.215.4532.558.


Further studies of the Saturnian magnetosphere and planetary magnetic field by Voyager 2 have substantiated the earlier results derived from Voyager 1 observations in 1980. The magnetic field is primarily that of a centered dipole (moment = 0.21 gauss-RS(3); where one Saturn radius, RS, is 60,330 kilometers) tilted approximately 0.8 degrees from the rotation axis. Near closest approach to Saturn, Voyager 2 traversed a kronographic longitude and latitude range that was complementary to that of Voyager 1. Somewhat surprisingly, no evidence was found in the data or the analysis for any large-scale magnetic anomaly in the northern hemisphere which could be associated with the periodic modulation of Saturnian kilometric radiation radio emissions. Voyager 2 crossed the magnetopause of a relatively compressed Saturnian magnetosphere at 18.5 RS while inbound near the noon meridian. Outbound, near the dawn meridian, the magnetosphere had expanded considerably and the magnetopause boundary was not observed until the spacecraft reached 48.4 to 50.9 RS and possibly beyond. Throughout the outbound magnetosphere passage, a period of 46 hours (4.5 Saturn rotations), the field was relatively steady and smooth showing no evidence for any azimuthal asymmetry or magnetic anomaly in the planetary field. We are thus left with a rather enigmatic situation to understand the basic source of Saturnian kilometric radiation modulation, other than the small dipole tilt.