Emily LakdawallaOct 15, 2008

DPS meeting: Sunday: Three tiny moons of Saturn orbit within rings

I'll be writing quite a bit about the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society this week; see this post for an introduction. Now I'm going in to the talks from Sunday, where I faced a lot of conflicts, wanting to jump between rings, asteroids, and Titan talks. Watching the talks on the Web, I can catch up with all these different places in the solar system -- provided I can find the time to watch them all!

First up was a talk by Matt Hedman on the rings recently discovered in association with three small moons of Saturn that were themselves discovered in Cassini images: Pallene, Methone, and Anthe.

Ring arcs associated with small moons of Saturn

from Matt Hedman's presentation to the 2008 DPS meeting

Ring arcs associated with small moons of Saturn
Methone, Anthe, and Pallene are very small moons that were discovered in Cassini images of the region between Mimas and Enceladus, in orbit around Saturn. Further investigation of these moons has yielded the discovery of rings associated with these moons -- ring arcs for Anthe and Methone, and a complete ring for Pallene.
Methone and Anthe with their ring arcs

NASA / JPL / SSI

Methone and Anthe with their ring arcs
Arcs of material share an orbit with the tiny moons Anthe (top left) and Methone (bottom right). The arcs are confined by resonances with Mimas; the Methone arc only spans about 10 degrees of longitude, and the Anthe arc about 20 degrees of longitude.
Resonances confine Methone and Anthe rings to 'pockets' within their orbits

from Matt Hedman's presentation to the 2008 DPS meeting

Resonances confine Methone and Anthe rings to 'pockets' within their orbits

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