Material Flux From the Rings of Saturn Into Its Atmosphere

M. E. Perry, J. H. Waite, D. G. Mitchell, K. E. Miller, T. E. Cravens, R. S. Perryman, L. Moore, Roger Yelle, H. W. Hsu, M. M. Hedman, J. N. Cuzzi, D. F. Strobel, O. Q. Hamil, C. R. Glein, L. J. Paxton, B. D. Teolis, R. L. McNutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During Cassini's final, spectacular months, in situ instruments made the first direct measurements of nanoparticles, finding an exceptionally large flow from the rings into Saturn's atmosphere. Cassini's Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer measured material in three altitude bands and found a global-integrated flux of 2–20 × 104 kg/s that is dominated by hydrocarbon material <104u. Ranging from clusters of a few molecules to radii of several nanometers, nanoparticles are ubiquitous throughout Saturn's rings but embedded in the regolith of larger particles and not detectable as independent particles using remote observations. The smallest nanoparticles are susceptible to atmosphere drag by Saturn's tenuous exosphere that reaches the inner edge of the D ring. The unsustainable large flux suggests a recent disturbance of Saturn's inner ring material, possibly associated with the clumping that appeared in the D68 ringlet in 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Saturn
atmospheres
nanoparticles
atmosphere
rings
Saturn atmosphere
Saturn rings
exosphere
regolith
mass spectrometers
drag
disturbances
hydrocarbons
radii
spectrometer
hydrocarbon
disturbance
material
ion
molecules

Keywords

  • nanoparticles
  • organics
  • rings
  • Saturn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Perry, M. E., Waite, J. H., Mitchell, D. G., Miller, K. E., Cravens, T. E., Perryman, R. S., ... McNutt, R. L. (Accepted/In press). Material Flux From the Rings of Saturn Into Its Atmosphere. Geophysical Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078575

Material Flux From the Rings of Saturn Into Its Atmosphere. / Perry, M. E.; Waite, J. H.; Mitchell, D. G.; Miller, K. E.; Cravens, T. E.; Perryman, R. S.; Moore, L.; Yelle, Roger; Hsu, H. W.; Hedman, M. M.; Cuzzi, J. N.; Strobel, D. F.; Hamil, O. Q.; Glein, C. R.; Paxton, L. J.; Teolis, B. D.; McNutt, R. L.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Perry, ME, Waite, JH, Mitchell, DG, Miller, KE, Cravens, TE, Perryman, RS, Moore, L, Yelle, R, Hsu, HW, Hedman, MM, Cuzzi, JN, Strobel, DF, Hamil, OQ, Glein, CR, Paxton, LJ, Teolis, BD & McNutt, RL 2018, 'Material Flux From the Rings of Saturn Into Its Atmosphere', Geophysical Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078575
Perry ME, Waite JH, Mitchell DG, Miller KE, Cravens TE, Perryman RS et al. Material Flux From the Rings of Saturn Into Its Atmosphere. Geophysical Research Letters. 2018 Jan 1. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078575
Perry, M. E. ; Waite, J. H. ; Mitchell, D. G. ; Miller, K. E. ; Cravens, T. E. ; Perryman, R. S. ; Moore, L. ; Yelle, Roger ; Hsu, H. W. ; Hedman, M. M. ; Cuzzi, J. N. ; Strobel, D. F. ; Hamil, O. Q. ; Glein, C. R. ; Paxton, L. J. ; Teolis, B. D. ; McNutt, R. L. / Material Flux From the Rings of Saturn Into Its Atmosphere. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 2018.
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