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H.T. Smith, R.E. Johnson (University of Virginia), V. Shematovich (Institute of Astronomy, RAS)
HST and Voyager observations indicate that neutral (OH and H) clouds populate the inner Saturnian system. These are thought to be primarily dissociation products of H2O ejected from surfaces of E-ring grains and satellites by UV photons, ions, electrons, and micrometeorites (Jurac et al. Icarus Vol 149, pp 384-396, 2001). The higher than anticipated neutral OH density in the vicinity of Mimas and Enceladus is of particular interest because the smaller relative velocity differences between the neutral particles and the co-rotational plasma may allow for chemistry in this region. We are developing a 3-D computational model to simulate particle interactions and generate particle cloud densities in the large region encompassed by the E-ring with detailed resolution of regions close to the surface of the icy satellites. When completed, this model will simulate statistically significant H2O sources, solar UV and magnetospheric electron impacts, losses due to interaction with the Saturnian magnetospheric plasma, and a chemistry network with ion-molecular, neutral-neutral, and molecular ion dissociative recombination reactions. For this presentation, our model illustrates H2O neutral cloud morphology produced by satellite and E-ring grain sputtering sources. We also examine the effect of satellite gravitation and ejecta velocity distribution on cloud morphology.
Work supported by NASA's Geology and Geophysics, and Planetary Atmosphere Programs, NASAís Graduate Student Research Program and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.