Plasmatization and recondensation of the Saturnian rings

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Abstract

One major puzzle from the ground-based and Voyager observations of the saturnian system concerns the presence of the E ring and its possible relationship to the icy satellite, Enceladus1-3. Several issues concerning the surface property and interior condition of Enceladus remain unresolved if it is the main supplier of the E-ring particulate matter. Here we explore the intriguing alternative that the mass supply and orbital configuration of the E ring may be derived from a mass and momentum coupling between the A ring and the tenuous E ring a process of plasmatization and recondensation of the A-ring icy material. In the same way, the C ring could be replenished by the B ring. In this new view, plasma transport has a very important role in the dynamical evolution of the saturnian ring system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-145
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume320
Issue number6058
DOIs
StatePublished - 1986

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