Journal article Open Access

The Composition of Saturn's Rings

Poulet, F.

A composite spectrum between 0.30 and 4.05 μm of Saturn's rings is analyzed using the Shkuratov scattering theory (Shkuratov et al. 1999, Icarus137, 235–246). Several types of surface and composition are discussed. We demonstrate that both the strong reddening over the interval 0.3–0.7 μm and the water ice absorption features are well reproduced by an intimate ("salt-and-pepper") mixture of four coarse particles of two different materials: 93% are grains (typical sizes of 10, 200, and 2000 μm) of water ice containing a few percent of refractory organic solid (tholin) impurities within their bulk, and 7% are coarse grains of a dark material (amorphous carbon). The cosmogenic implications of the inferred composition are discussed.

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