36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 1 Cassini at Saturn I
Special Session, Monday, November 8, 2004, 8:30-10:00am, Lewis

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[1.04] Cassini UVIS observations show an active Saturn system

L.W. Esposito, J.E. Colwell (LASP/Univ of Colorado), J.T. Hallett (USC), C.J. Hansen, A.R. Hendrix (JPL), H.U. Keller, A. Korth (MPSS-Lindau), K. Larsen, W.E. McClintock (LASP/Univ of Colorado), W.R. Pryor (Central Arizona College), R. Reulke (Stuttgart Univ), D.E. Shemansky (USC), A.I.F. Stewart (LASP/Univ of Colorado), R.A. West, J.A. Ajello (JPL), Y.L. Yung (Caltech)

The Cassini Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) is part of the remote sensing payload of the NASA/ESA Cassini spacecraft. This spectrograph includes channels for extreme UV and far UV spectroscopic imaging, high speed photometry of stellar occultations, solar EUV occultation, and a hydrogen/deuterium absorption cell. We report our initial results from Saturn approach; systematic mosaics of the Saturn system; Phoebe; Saturn orbit insertion and the first Titan flyby. Dynamic interactions between neutrals, ions, rings, moons and meteoroids produce a highly structured and time variable Saturn system. Oxygen in the Saturn system dominates the magnetosphere. Observed fluctuations indicate close interactions with plasma sources. Stochastic events in the E ring may be the ultimate source. The spectral signature of water ice is seen on Phoebe and in Saturn's rings. Water ice is mixed non-uniformly with darker constituents. The high structure of the UV ring reflectance argues that collisional transport dominates ballistic transport in darkening the rings. Titan emissions show atomic, molecular and ionized nitrogen. Auroral emissions from Saturn match electron excited molecular hydrogen. Our preliminary results support the idea that rings are recycled fragments of moons: the current processes are more important than history and initial conditions.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.