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Journal Articles Icarus Year : 2013

Saturn’s ring temperatures at equinox


Modeling the thermal emission of Saturn’s rings is challenging due to the numerous heating sources as well as the structural properties of the disk and of the particles that are closely related. At equinox, however, rings are externally heated by Saturn alone and the problem is somewhat simplified. We test the abilities of our current models to reproduce the temperatures observed with the Cassini-CIRS instrument around equinox in August 2009. A simple semi-analytic model with the mutual shadowing effect can mostly explain the radial profile of the equinox ring temperatures, except the model predicts lower temperatures than those observed for the A ring. The temperature variation at a given saturnocentric radius is primarily caused by observational geometry variations relative to Saturn. The observed temperature increases with decreasing Saturn-ring-observer angle. In addition, we found evidence that the leading hemispheres of particles are warmer than the trailing hemispheres at least for the C ring and probably for the A and B rings as well. This is explained if some fraction of particles has spin rates lower than the synchronous rotation rate as predicted by N-body simulations. The spin model for a monolayer ring (Ferrari, C., Leyrat, C. [2006]. Astron. Astrophys. 447, 745–760) can fit the temperature variations with spacecraft longitude observed in the C ring with currently known thermal properties and a mixing of slow and fast rotators. The multilayer model (Morishima, R., Salo, H., Ohtsuki, K. [2009]. Icarus 201, 634–654) can reproduce the temperatures of the B and C rings but gives A ring temperatures that are significantly lower than those observed as does the simple semi-analytic model. More advanced models which take into account self-gravity wakes may explain the A ring temperature behavior.
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insu-03821740 , version 1 (19-10-2022)



Linda Spilker, Cecile Ferrari, Ryuji Morishima. Saturn’s ring temperatures at equinox. Icarus, 2013, 226 (1), pp.316-322. ⟨10.1016/j.icarus.2013.06.002⟩. ⟨insu-03821740⟩
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