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Title: Cassini thermal observations of Saturn’s main rings : Implications for particle rotation and vertical mixing
Authors: Spilker, Linda J.
Pilorz, Stuart H.
Wallis, Brad D.
Pearl, John C.
Cuzzi, Jeffrey N.
Brooks, Shawn M.
Altobelli, Nicolas
Edgington, Scott G.
Showalter, Mark
Flasar, F. Michael
Ferrari, Cecile
Leyrat, Cedric
Keywords: Saturn
Cassini composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS)
Thermal ring measurements
Planetary Rings
Issue Date: 26-Jul-2006
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Citation: Planetary and Space Science Vol. 54 (2006) 1167–1176, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2006.05.033
Abstract: In late 2004 and 2005 the Cassini composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS) obtained spatially resolved thermal infrared radial scans of Saturn’s main rings (A, B and C, and Cassini Division) that show ring temperatures decreasing with increasing solar phase angle, α, on both the lit and unlit faces of the ring plane. These temperature differences suggest that Saturn’s main rings include a population of ring particles that spin slowly, with a spin period greater than 3.6 h, given their low thermal inertia. The A ring shows the smallest temperature variation with α, and this variation decreases with distance from the planet. This suggests an increasing number of smaller, and/or more rapidly rotating ring particles with more uniform temperatures, resulting perhaps from stirring by the density waves in the outer A ring and/or self-gravity wakes. The temperatures of the A and B rings are correlated with their optical depth, τ, when viewed from the lit face, and anti-correlated when viewed from the unlit face. On the unlit face of the B ring, not only do the lowest temperatures correlate with the largest τ, these temperatures are also the same at both low and high a, suggesting that little sunlight is penetrating these regions. The temperature differential from the lit to the unlit side of the rings is a strong, nearly linear, function of optical depth. This is consistent with the expectation that little sunlight penetrates to the dark side of the densest rings, but also suggests that little vertical mixing of ring particles is taking place in the A and B rings.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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