Meter-Sized Moonlet Population in Saturn's C Ring and Cassini Division
Stellar occultations observed by the Cassini Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph reveal the presence of transparent holes a few meters to a few tens of meters in radial extent in otherwise optically thick regions of the C ring and the Cassini Division. We attribute the holes to gravitational disturbances generated by a population of ~10 m boulders in the rings that is intermediate in size between the background ring particle size distribution and the previously observed ~100 m propeller moonlets in the A ring. The size distribution of these boulders is described by a shallower power-law than the one that describes the ring particle size distribution. The number and size distribution of these boulders could be explained by limited accretion processes deep within Saturn's Roche zone.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Institute of Physics Publishing
Baillié, K., Colwell, J. E., Esposito, L. W., & Lewis, M. C. (2013). Meter-sized moonlet population in saturn's C ring and cassini division. Astronomical Journal, 145(6) doi:10.1088/0004-6256/145/6/171
Astronomical Journal, Article number 171