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Ultraviolet Imaging Spectroscopy Shows an Active Saturnian System

Science  25 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5713, pp. 1251-1255
DOI: 10.1126/science.1105606

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Abstract

Neutral oxygen in the saturnian system shows variability, and the total number of oxygen atoms peaks at 4 × 1034. Saturn's aurora brightens in response to solar-wind forcing, and the auroral spectrum resembles Jupiter's. Phoebe's surface shows variable water-ice content, and the data indicate it originated in the outer solar system. Saturn's rings also show variable water abundance, with the purest ice in the outermost A ring. This radial variation is consistent with initially pure water ice bombarded by meteors, but smaller radial structures may indicate collisional transport and recent renewal events in the past 107 to 108 years.

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