Special Reports

Enceladus' Varying Imprint on the Magnetosphere of Saturn

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Science  10 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5766, pp. 1412-1415
DOI: 10.1126/science.1121011

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The bombardment of Saturn's moon Enceladus by >20–kiloelectron volt magnetospheric particles causes particle flux depletions in regions magnetically connected to its orbit. Irrespective of magnetospheric activity, proton depletions are persistent, whereas electron depletions are quickly erased by magnetospheric processes. Observations of these signatures by Cassini's Magnetospheric Imaging Instrument allow remote monitoring of Enceladus' gas and dust environments. This reveals substantial outgassing variability at the moon and suggests increased dust concentrations at its Lagrange points. The characteristics of the particle depletions additionally provide key radial diffusion coefficients for energetic electrons and an independent measure of the inner magnetosphere's rotation velocity.

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