Encounter with Saturn: Voyager 1 Imaging Science Results

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Science  10 Apr 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4491, pp. 163-191
DOI: 10.1126/science.212.4491.163


As Voyager 1 flew through the Saturn system it returned photographs revealing many new and surprising characteristics of this complicated community of bodies. Saturn's atmosphere has numerous, low-contrast, discrete cloud features and a pattern of circulation significantly different from that of Jupiter. Titan is shrouded in a haze layer that varies in thickness and appearance. Among the icy satellites there is considerable variety in density, albedo, and surface morphology and substantial evidence for endogenic surface modification. Trends in density and crater characteristics are quite unlike those of the Galilean satellites. Small inner satellites, three of which were discovered in Voyager images, interact gravitationally with one another and with the ring particles in ways not observed elsewhere in the solar system. Saturn's broad A, B, and C rings contain hundreds of "ringlets," and in the densest portion of the B ring there are numerous nonaxisymmetric features. The narrow F ring has three components which, in at least one instance, are kinked and crisscrossed. Two rings are observed beyond the F ring, and material is seen between the C ring and the planet.