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Saturn's Rings Have Own Atmosphere

Date:
August 23, 2005
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
Data from the Cassini spacecraft indicate that Saturn's majestic ring system has its own atmosphere - separate from that of the planet itself. During its close fly-bys of the ring system, instruments on Cassini have been able to determine that the environment around the rings is like an atmosphere, composed principally of molecular oxygen. This atmosphere is very similar to that of Jupiter's moons Europa and Ganymede.

The electron spectrometer from University College London (with RAL and NDRE), part of the SWRI-led Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) instrument, saw the rings through 'electron eyes', with electron intensity inversely related to ring particle density. The bottom panel shows CAPS-ELS data with colour scale proportional to number of electrons. The top panel shows a Cassini narrow-angle camera visble image of the ring structure for comparison.
Credit: s: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute/SWRI/UCL


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The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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European Space Agency. "Saturn's Rings Have Own Atmosphere." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050821234924.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2005, August 23). Saturn's Rings Have Own Atmosphere. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050821234924.htm
European Space Agency. "Saturn's Rings Have Own Atmosphere." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050821234924.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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