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Evidence of a highly inclined dusty ringlet in Saturn’s C-ring

Presentation #411.08 in the session “Origins, Formation and Dynamical Systems”.

Published onOct 03, 2021
Evidence of a highly inclined dusty ringlet in Saturn’s C-ring

A faint, dusty ringlet lies around 87,420 km from Saturn’s center within the Maxwell Gap in Saturn’s C ring. In 2009, this ringlet was observed by the cameras onboard the Cassini spacecraft shortly after the spacecraft flew through the ring plane. Variations in the apparent position of the ringlet in the resulting images indicate that this ringlet is inclined and can get roughly as far from Saturn’s equatorial plane as the F-ring’s core. If this is correct, then this ringlet may be more inclined than any other ring feature within Saturn’s main rings. The large inclination of this ringlet could potentially be due to non-gravitational forces like solar radiation pressure (which more strongly affects ringlets composed of small particles) or perturbations from an unidentified mean-motion resonance. Further investigations of this ringlet’s shape and location should clarify what processes are responsible for the ringlet’s extreme tilt.


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