Research Articles

Observations of Saturn's Ring-Plane Crossings in August and November 1995

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  26 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5261, pp. 509-515
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5261.509


Observations of Saturn's ring system with the Hubble Space Telescope during the 10 August 1995 Earth crossing and the 17 to 21 November 1995 solar crossing indicate that the F ring dominates their apparent edge-on thickness of 1.2 to 1.5 kilometers. The F ring is slightly inclined with respect to the A ring, which may explain the approximately 50-minute difference in apparent crossing times for the east and west ring ansae in August. Prometheus lags its predicted position by about 19 degrees in longitude. The faint G ring is neutral or reddish in color and is confined to a radial range of 2.72 to 2.85 Saturn radii. The broad, distinctly blue E ring flares outward to a maximum thickness of about 15,000 kilometers at 7.5 Saturn radii and appears to have a spatially uniform particle size distribution.