Saturn's icy satellites investigated by Cassini-VIMS. II. Results at the end of nominal mission

G. Filacchione, F. Capaccioni, R. N. Clark, J. N. Cuzzi, D. P. Cruikshank, A. Coradini, P. Cerroni, P. D. Nicholson, T. B. McCord, R. H. Brown, B. J. Buratti, F. Tosi, R. M. Nelson, R. Jaumann, K. Stephan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We report the detailed analysis of the spectrophotometric properties of Saturn's icy satellites as derived by full-disk observations obtained by visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) experiment aboard Cassini. In this paper, we have extended the coverage until the end of the Cassini's nominal mission (June 1st 2008), while a previous paper (Filacchione, G., and 28 colleagues [2007]. Icarus 186, 259-290, hereby referred to as Paper I) reported the preliminary results of this study. During the four years of nominal mission, VIMS has observed the entire population of Saturn's icy satellites allowing us to make a comparative analysis of the VIS-NIR spectral properties of the major satellites (Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Hyperion, Iapetus) and irregular moons (Atlas, Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, Epimetheus, Telesto, Calypso, Phoebe). The results we discuss here are derived from the entire dataset available at June 2008 which consists of 1417 full-disk observations acquired from a variety of distances and inclinations from the equatorial plane, with different phase angles and hemispheric coverage. The most important spectrophotometric indicators (as defined in Paper I: I/F continua at 0.55 μm, 1.822 μm and 3.547 μm, visible spectral slopes, water and carbon dioxide bands depths and positions) are calculated for each observation in order to investigate the disk-integrated composition of the satellites, the distribution of water ice respect to "contaminants" abundances and typical regolith grain properties. These quantities vary from the almost pure water ice surfaces of Enceladus and Calypso to the organic and carbon dioxide rich Hyperion, Iapetus and Phoebe. Janus visible colors are intermediate between these two classes having a slightly positive spectral slope. These results could help to decipher the origins and evolutionary history of the minor moons of the Saturn's system. We introduce a polar representation of the spectrophotometric parameters as function of the solar phase angle (along radial distance) and of the effective longitude interval illuminated by the Sun and covered by VIMS during the observation (in azimuth) to better investigate the spatial distribution of the spectrophotometric quantities across the regular satellites hemispheres. Finally, we report the observed spectral positions of the 4.26 μm band of the carbon dioxide present in the surface material of three outermost moons Hyperion, Iapetus and Phoebe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-523
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Ices, IR spectroscopy
  • Image processing
  • Infrared observations
  • Saturn, Satellites
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Saturn's icy satellites investigated by Cassini-VIMS. II. Results at the end of nominal mission'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this