Solar system: Saturn's tides control Enceladus' plume

  title={Solar system: Saturn's tides control Enceladus' plume},
  author={John R. Spencer},
  • J. Spencer
  • Published 31 July 2013
  • Physics, Geology
  • Nature
Data obtained by the Cassini spacecraft show that the plume of ice particles at the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus is four times brighter when the moon is farthest away from the planet than when it is closest. See Letter p.182 Between 2005 and 2012 the Cassini spacecraft's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) obtained 252 images of the plume of water vapour and ice particles emitting from near the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus. These images have been analysed with a… 
Evidence of Electron Density Enhancements in the Post‐Apoapsis Sector of Enceladus' Orbit
Enceladus' plume is the dominant source of neutrals and plasma in Saturn's magnetosphere. The plasma results from the ionization of icy particles and water vapor, which are vented into Saturn's inner
Effect of the Tiger Stripes on the water vapor distribution in Enceladus' exosphere
The jet activity emanating from Enceladus' exosphere south pole region observed by Cassini is a subject of intensive study. The in situ and remote sensing observations performed since 2005 triggered
The Cassini-Huygens Space Mission
Cassini-Huygens Space Mission


An observed correlation between plume activity and tidal stresses on Enceladus
It is reported that the plume’s horizontally integrated brightness is several times greater when Enceladus is near the point in its eccentric orbit where it is furthest from Saturn than it is when close to the point of closest approach to the planet.
Enceladus: An Active Ice World in the Saturn System
Enceladus, one of the mid-sized icy moons of Saturn, has an importance to planetary science far greater than its modest 504-km diameter would suggest. Intensive exploration of Enceladus by the
A salt-water reservoir as the source of a compositionally stratified plume on Enceladus
Whereas previous Cassini observations were compatible with a variety of plume formation mechanisms, these data eliminate or severely constrain non-liquid models and strongly imply that a salt-water reservoir with a large evaporating surface provides nearly all of the matter in the plume.
Eruptions arising from tidally controlled periodic openings of rifts on Enceladus
A mechanism in which temporal variations in tidal stress open and close the tiger-stripe rifts, governing the timing of eruptions is reported, implying that Enceladus’ icy shell behaves as a thin elastic layer, perhaps only a few tens of kilometres thick.
Association of the jets of Enceladus with the warmest regions on its south-polar fractures
Cassini images taken from a variety of viewing directions are used to triangulate the source locations for the most prominent jets, and compare these with the infrared hotspot locations and the predictions from a recent model of tidally induced shear heating within the fractures.
Liquid water on Enceladus from observations of ammonia and 40 Ar in the plume
This corrects the article DOI: 10.1038/nature08153