Special Reports

Enceladus' Water Vapor Plume

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Science  10 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5766, pp. 1422-1425
DOI: 10.1126/science.1121254

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The Cassini spacecraft flew close to Saturn's small moon Enceladus three times in 2005. Cassini's UltraViolet Imaging Spectrograph observed stellar occultations on two flybys and confirmed the existence, composition, and regionally confined nature of a water vapor plume in the south polar region of Enceladus. This plume provides an adequate amount of water to resupply losses from Saturn's E ring and to be the dominant source of the neutral OH and atomic oxygen that fill the Saturnian system.

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