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Time and Tides: Near Infrared Studies of Enceladus' Variable Plume

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Monday, April 21, 2014 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA Auditorium

Speaker Name(s): 

Matthew Hedman

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Idaho
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

Saturn's moon Enceladus is an exceptionally interesting object because it is geologically active, generating a towering plume of water vapor and fine ice particles that extends hundreds of kilometers above the moon's surface. Multiple instruments onboard the Cassini spacecraft have observed this plume, and each has provided important clues about the nature of Enceladus' activity. In this talk, I will describe observations of the plume made by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS). Some of these observations provide information about the overall distribution of different-sized particles in the plume, and thus give us clues about how these particles are launched from beneath Enceladus' surface. Other data show the plume's brightness varies dramatically as Enceladus moves around its eccentric orbit, allowing us to explore how Enceladus responds to tidal forces.