36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 19 Rings
Poster I, Tuesday, November 9, 2004, 4:00-7:00pm, Exhibition Hall 1A

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[19.15] The Color of Saturn's Rings as Seen in Cassini Images on Approach to Saturn

L. Dones (SWRI), C. C. Porco, E. J. Baker (SSI)

Nine days before it entered orbit, Cassini imaged the lit face of Saturn's rings with its narrow-angle camera in the UV3, BL1, GRN, RED, and IR2 filters, at a phase angle of 66\circ and an image scale of 38 km/pixel. Color variations in Saturn's rings on a variety of spatial scales have previously been seen by Voyager (Estrada and Cuzzi, Icarus 122, 251, 1996 and Estrada et al., Icarus 166, 212, 2003) and the Hubble Space Telescope (Cuzzi et al., Icarus 158, 199, 2002). The rings have long been known to be ``red'' in the spectral range from 300 to 600 nm. The HST observations show that the rings get redder with increasing phase angle over the range visible from Earth, which only extends up to 6\circ. Our preliminary analysis of Cassini images indicates that the rings continue to get redder at larger phase angles. We will discuss the color of specific regions in the rings and will compare our results with Voyager and HST data. We acknowledge the support of the Cassini Project, JPL/NASA.

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