NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Charged dust in planetary magnetospheres: Hamiltonian dynamics and numerical simulations for highly charged grainsWe use a combination of analytical and numerical methods to investigate the dynamics of charged dust grains in planetary magnetospheres. Our emphasis is on obtaining results valid for particles that are not necessarily dominated either by gravitational or electromagnetic forces. A Hamiltonian formulation of the problem yields exact results, for all values of charge-to-mass ratio, when we introduce two constraints: particles remain in the equatorial plane and the magnetic field is taken as axially symmetric. In particular, we obtain locations of equilibrium points, the frequencies of stable periodic orbits, the topology of separatrices in phase space, and the rate of longitudinal drift. These results are significant for specific applications: motion in the nearly aligned dipolar field of Saturn, and the trajectories of arbitrarily charged particles in complex magnetic fields for limited periods of time after ejection from parent bodies. Since the model is restrictive, we also use numerical integrations of the full three-dimensional equations of motion and illustrate under what conditions the constrained problem yields reasonable results. We show that a large fraction of the intermediately charged and highly charged (gyrating) particles will always be lost to a planet's atmosphere within a few hundred hours, for motion through tilted-dipole magnetic fields. We find that grains must have a very high charge-to-mass ratio in order to be mirrored back to the ring plane. Thus, except perhaps at Saturn where the dipole tilt is very small, the likely inhabitants of the dusty ring systems are those particles that are either nearly Keplerian (weakly charged) grains or grains whose charges place them in the lower end of the intermediate charge zone. Fianlly, we demonstrate the effect of plasma drag on the orbits of gyrating particles to be a rapid decrease in gyroradius followed by a slow radial evolution of the guiding center.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Schaffer, L.
(Cornell University Ithaca, NY, United States)
Burns, J. A.
(Cornell University Ithaca, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 99
Issue: A9
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
No Preview Available