Abnormal, Active, and Asymmetric Magnetospheric System of Uranus

LASP Science Seminars

Abnormal, Active, and Asymmetric Magnetospheric System of Uranus

Xin Cao
(LASP)
April 27, 2023
4:00 PM MT/MST

Compared to other terrestrial and gas giant planets, Uranus has an abnormal, active and asymmetric magnetosphere, which results from its large obliquity and its highly tilted off-centered dipole field. We analyzed the diurnal and seasonal variations of its magnetospheric interaction with upstream solar wind, and emphasized the periodic reconnections occurring at the magnetopause with a cadence of the planetary rotation. The extreme magnetospheric dynamics due to such solar wind’s driving appears to be completely distinct from the typical magnetospheres of terrestrial planets, with potentially weaker ion radiation belt and highly twisted magnetotail. We also systematically investigated the variation of magnetopause configuration on a daily basis, and analyzed its simultaneous response to different Interplanetary Magnetic Field orientations. We found that the asymmetric magnetopause topology is dominated by the planetary rotation if upstream solar wind is stable, but the IMF orientation is able to modulate the magnetopause structure as well. We supposed that the instabilities and reconnections are likely to occur at multi regions in the magnetosphere or near the boundaries. We proposed that the future orbiter and probe to Uranus should include these important regions with highly scientific merit.

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