UV-IR Spectra of the Icy Saturnian Satellites
Abstract:Cassini’s multi-instrument suite allows simultaneous observations of the icy satellites of Saturn over a wide range of wavelengths. We present composite UV-IR spectra (0.1-5 microns) of the leading and trailing hemispheres of the icy moons using data from Cassini supplemented with spectra from Hubble Space Telescope (STIS). We use data of Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea from the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS), the Imaging Subsystem (ISS) and the Visual-Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) taken during simultaneous measurements, or using similar observational geometries. The well-studied phase curve behaviors of the satellites are utilized to readily combine Earth-based STIS data with the Cassini datasets to create composite spectra.
Focusing primarily on the UV-visible region so far, we find that the spectra of all satellites are bright and spectrally relatively flat at visible wavelengths longer than 500-600 nm; shortward of 500-600 nm the surfaces become absorbing with wavelength, resulting in reddish spectra. The satellites exhibit flattish-to-bowl-shaped spectra in the ~200-350 nm range and demonstrate the 165 nm water ice absorption edge, in varying strengths. These composite spectra are used to study the system-wide surface compositions of the satellites to understand large-scale exogenic effects (e.g., E-ring grain bombardment and radiolytic processing) at a variety of regolith sensing depths, and in particular to study implications for the presence and distribution of organics, ammonia, and other non-H2O-ice species in the system.