DUSTY PLASMA IN SATURN’S RINGS: A LITERATURE REVIEW
The importance of dusty plasma physics for understanding the dynamics and characteristics of Saturn’s rings was realized much before the in situ observations made by the spacecrafts such as the pioneers, voyagers and Cassini. However, it was the observation of radial ‘spokes’ by the Voyagers 1 and 2 above the Saturn’s B and C rings that established the importance of dusty plasma physics in the study of Saturn’s ring system. Since then dpp (dusty plasma physics) has been successfully used to explain several observations or phenomena of the Saturn rings. However, many questions remained unanswered. The questions with regard to the plasma sources, plasma transport or dynamics and the interactions of ring particles with the plasma in the presence of the planet’s magnetic fields are yet to be fully understood. There is a hope that the complete analysis and interpretation of the numerous Cassini data will lead to a deeper understanding of the Saturn rings. Several papers on Saturn rings from Pioneer to Cassini are reviewed here. The objective is to present an up-to-date comprehensive paper on Saturn’s rings by incorporating the findings of Pioneers, Voyagers and Cassini. The motivation is to identify the areas/ ideas/topics on which further research should be taken and the extent to which the dynamics and evolution of the Saturn ring system is governed by the dusty plasma physics.
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