DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 20. Planetary Rings II
Poster, Highlighted on, Wednesday, September 3, 2003, 3:00-5:30pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[20.05] Galileo in-situ dust measurements in Jupiter's Gossamer Rings

H. Krueger (Max-Planck-Institut fuer Kernphysik), E. Grün (MPI-K and HIGP), D.P. Hamilton (U. Maryland)

Jupiter's ring system -- the archetype of ethereal ring systems -- consists of at least three components: the main ring, the vertically extended halo and the gossamer ring(s). The small moonlets Thebe and Amalthea orbit Jupiter within the gossamer ring region and structure in the intensity obtained from imaging observations indicates that these moons are the dominant sources of the gossamer ring material. The current picture implies that particles ejected from a source moon evolve inward under the Poynting-Robertson drag. Beyond Thebe's orbit, a very faint outward extension of the gossamer ring has also been observed which is not yet explained. Typical grain radii derived from optical imaging are a few micrometers. In November 2002 the Galileo spacecraft traversed the gossamer ring for the first time and had a close flyby at Amalthea. With the in-situ dust detector on board, dust measurements were collected throughout the gossamer ring and close to Amalthea. Several hundred impacts of dust grains were recorded and the data sets (impact charges, rise times, impact directions, etc.) of about 90 impacts were transmitted to Earth. In-situ dust measurements provide information about the physical properties of the dust environment not accessible with imaging techniques. They directly provide dust spatial densities along the spacecraft trajectory as well as grain sizes and impact speeds. This allows to test and refine current models of ring particle dynamics (see D. P. Hamilton et al., this conference). In particular, the direct measurement of grain sizes and dust spatial density in different regions of the gossamer ring allow to better constrain the forces dominating the grains' dynamics. The Galileo measurements in Jupiter's gossamer ring pave the way towards the in-situ dust measurements with Cassini in Saturn's E ring beginning in 2004.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.