Impact of lightning on the lower ionosphere of Saturn and possible generation of halos and sprites

Titulo: 
Impact of lightning on the lower ionosphere of Saturn and possible generation of halos and sprites
Autores: 
Dubrovin, D; Luque, A; Gordillo-Vazquez, FJ; Yair, Y; Parra-Rojas, FC; Ebert, U; Price, C
Resumen: 
We study the effect of lightning on the lower ionosphere of Saturn. A self-consistent one-dimensional model of the electric field and electron density is used to estimate the changes of the local electron and photon emissions. The chemical fingerprint and ion densities are determined using a detailed self-consistent kinetic model. Charge moment change, depth of lightning flashes and their duration are estimated based on the known constraints of saturnian lightning activity. We test two electron density profiles and find that the conservative estimation of lightning charge moment change 10(4) to 10(5) C km could lead to faint halos and possibly sprites if the base of the ionosphere is located at 1000 km above the 1 bar level; if the base of the ionosphere is located at 600 km then only the extreme scenario of a 10(6) C km charge moment change could induce considerable ionization, halos and possibly sprites. We found that H-3(+) ions are rapidly produced from the parent H-2(+) ions through the fast reaction H-2(+)+ H-2 --> H-3(+) + H, so that H-3(+) becomes the dominant ion in all the scenarios considered. The resulting light emissions, mostly in the blue and ultraviolet spectral regions, are below the detection threshold of Cassini. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Autor principal: 
Dubrovin, D
Autor/es del IAA: 
Luque, A.; Gordillo-Vazquez, F. J.; Parra-Rojas, F. C.
DOI: 
10.1016/j.icarus.2014.06.025
Revista: 
ICARUS
Fecha de publicación: 
2014/10
Volumen: 
241
Páginas: 
313-328
Tipo de documento: 
Article
Palabras clave: 
Saturn; Lightning; Ionospheres