The dynamical properties of E-ring particles derived from CDA impact mass spectra

Monday, 15 December 2014
Rudolfs Namikis1, Mihaly Horanyi2, Frank Postberg3, Ralf Srama3 and Sascha Kempf2, (1)Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)University of Colorado at Boulder, Physics, Boulder, CO, United States, (3)University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
The Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA) on the Cassini spacecraft has the unique capability to obtain mass spectra of individual ring particles hitting the detector. There is empirical evidence that the spectral signatures of Saturnian water ice particles are indicative of their impact speed. Based on a detailed analysis of mass spectra recorded by CDA at the same E ring location, but at different spacecraft speeds, we devised a technique to accurately determine the speeds of E ring particles hitting CDA. This will allow us for the first time to characterize the dynamical properties of the E ring particles, which is the prerequisite for an in-depth understanding of the ring dynamics.