Measuring The Smallest Particles In Saturn’s Rings With Cassini UVIS Occultation Data/Surface Composition Of The M-Type Asteroids
The particles that constitute Saturn’s rings range from micron-sized dust to small boulders. The presence of small particles is a signature of more energetic collisions between ring particles, while the absence of dust indicates that the particles are aggregating into larger clumps. Characterizing the size distribution of particles throughout the rings therefore provides insight into the dynamical environment of the ring particles. We examine stellar and solar occultation data from the Cassini spacecraft to measure detections of forward-scattered light by the smallest particles. We present results from computer models that reproduce the signature of the forward-scattered light and thereby constrain the size distribution of particles throughout Saturn’s rings.