Porco, C., Brahic, A., Burns, J., Dones, L., Murray, C., Spitale, J., Tiscareno, M., Charnoz, S., Beurle, K., and Evans, M. (2004). "Splendor in the Rings...as seen by the Cassini Imaging Experiment." Eos Trans. AGU 85(47), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract P51C-03.


Abstract

Since Cassini's approach to Saturn began in early February 2004, the Imaging Science experiment has collected multi-spectral observations of Saturn's rings at intermediate phase angles, images designed to search for previously unseen satellites near and within the ring system, images of known ring-region satellites for the purposes of orbit refinement, and a striking set of images acquired immediately after Cassini was placed in orbit, as the spacecraft flew across the unilluminated side of the rings, and then again, after it crossed the ring plane onto the illuminated side. New ring structures and objects have been found in the vicinity of the F ring, orbits for these objects as well as the F ring have been determined, the phase/color behavior of the rings has been extended into new geometries, and the highest resolution images have revealed a variety of features -- some brand new, and some previously known but seen now in greater two-dimensional detail -- all created by the perturbations of moons, both external and internal to the rings. Some of these features indicate the presence of unseen moons in ring gaps, analysis of others will allow reliable measures of ring viscosity and masses for the perturbing bodies. These new results and others, as well as their implications, will be discussed.