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East Asian Meeting on Astronomy
October 14(Mon)-18(Fri), 2013
NCU, Taiwan

Poster Presentation

A Statistical Study of the Distribution and Dynamics of Icy Grains in the Enceladus Gas Plume by Cassini’s Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer

Author(s): Jen-Kai Hsu Institute of Space Sciences, National Central University, Taiwan

Presenter: Jen-Kai Hsu (Institute of Space Science, National Central University)

A very interesting finding by the Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer on Cassini is about the detection of tiny icy grains embedded in the Enceladus gas plume during close encounters of the Cassini spacecraft with this active icy satellite of Saturn. Entering of an icy grain into the antechamber of INMS would lead to the generation of a sharp spike superimposed on the countrate profile of the gas molecules in the mass channel under measurement. Employing Monte Carlo simulations and data analysis of the INMS instrument performance, Teolis et al. (2010) investigated the time histories of the “dust spikes” and the associated icy grain density distributions along the paths of the E3 and E5 encounters, respectively. Following similar method, we have studied the corresponding dust measurements from the E7, E14, E17 and E18 flybys. The different encounter geometries allow us to have a better understanding of the relation between the source regions of the “dust spikes” from INMS and the jet locations and directions identified by Spitale and Porco (2007). In addition, fitting of the gas plume density profiles provide constraints on the initial conditions of the gas outflow from which the trajectories of dust particles of different sizes could be computed and compared with the INMS measurements.

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