Saturn chorus intensity variations

J. D. Menietti, P. Schippers, Y. Katoh, J. S. Leisner, G. B. Hospodarsky, D. A. Gurnett, O. Santolik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Whistler mode chorus plasma wave emissions have been observed at Saturn near the magnetic equator and the source region. During crossings of the magnetic equator along nearly constant L shells, the Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science Investigation often observes a local decrease in whistler mode intensity and bandwidth closest to the magnetic equator, where linear growth appears to dominate, with nonlinear structures appearing at higher latitudes and higher frequencies. We investigate linear growth rate using the Waves in a Homogeneous, Anisotropic, Multi-component Plasma dispersion solver and locally observed electron phase space density measurements from the Electron Spectrometer sensor of the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer Investigation to determine the parameters responsible for the variation in chorus intensity and bandwidth. We find that a temperature anisotropy (T/T ~ 1.3) can account for linear spatiotemporal growth rate of whistler mode waves, which provides a majority of the observed frequency-integrated power. At the highest frequencies, intense, nonlinear, frequency-drifting structures (drift rates ~ 200 Hz/s) are observed a few degrees away from the equator and can account for a significant fraction of the total power. Chorus emission at higher frequencies is distinct from lower frequency whistler mode emission and is sometimes correlated with simultaneously observed low-frequency electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves. These electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves appear to modulate a slow frequency drift (~15 Hz/s) which develops into nonlinear growth with much larger frequency drift associated only with the higher-frequency chorus. Key Points Tprp/Tpar ~ 1.3 can account for spatiotemporal growth of wavesNonlinear chorus intensity may be correlated with EMIC wave periodElectron distribution shows pitch angle dependence at low energy

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5592-5602
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sep


  • chorus spatial wave growth
  • electron distribution anisotropy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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