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Etude de l'interaction entre l'exosphère de Titan et la magnétosphère kronienne, à l'aide des données de l'expérience MIMI (Magnetosphere Imaging Instrument) à bord de Cassini

Abstract : The largest satellite of Saturn, Titan, has a nitrogen-rich atmosphere directly bombarded by magnetospheric energetic ions, due to its lack of a significant intrinsic magnetic field. Charge-exchange collisions between the cold neutrals of its exosphere (the upper part of the atmosphere) and the energetic ions from Saturn's magnetosphere produce then energetic neutral atoms (ENAs). The Ion and Neutral Camera (INCA), one of the three sensors that comprise the Magnetosphere Imaging Instrument (MIMI) on the Cassini spacecraft orbiting around Saturn, images these neutrals like photons, measures their fluxes and provides a powerful diagnostic of the interaction between Titan and the kronian magnetosphere.
Our work during this PhD thesis was first to model the Titan exosphere, with both thermal and non thermal profiles. An ENA flux calculation model was then developed, compared to observations and completed with a study of the ENA absorption mechanisms. We have also performed a statistical analysis of the MIMI data during the Titan flybys and orbit crossings. Finally, an application on the icy satellite Rhea allowed to infer upper limits for its eventual exosphere.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 2:40:02 PM
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Philippe Garnier. Etude de l'interaction entre l'exosphère de Titan et la magnétosphère kronienne, à l'aide des données de l'expérience MIMI (Magnetosphere Imaging Instrument) à bord de Cassini. Astrophysique [astro-ph]. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2007. Français. ⟨tel-00216096⟩

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