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Science. 2006 Mar 10;311(5766):1416-8.

Cassini dust measurements at Enceladus and implications for the origin of the E ring.

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  • 1Institut für Physik, Universität Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, Haus 19, D-14469 Potsdam, Germany.


During Cassini's close flyby of Enceladus on 14 July 2005, the High Rate Detector of the Cosmic Dust Analyzer registered micron-sized dust particles enveloping this satellite. The dust impact rate peaked about 1 minute before the closest approach of the spacecraft to the moon. This asymmetric signature is consistent with a locally enhanced dust production in the south polar region of Enceladus. Other Cassini experiments revealed evidence for geophysical activities near Enceladus' south pole: a high surface temperature and a release of water gas. Production or release of dust particles related to these processes may provide the dominant source of Saturn's E ring.

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