Saturn's icy satellites investigated by Cassini-VIMS. IV. Daytime temperature maps

Gianrico Filacchione, Emiliano D'Aversa, Fabrizio Capaccioni, Roger N. Clark, Dale P. Cruikshank, Mauro Ciarniello, Priscilla Cerroni, Giancarlo Bellucci, Robert H. Brown, Bonnie J. Buratti, Phillip D. Nicholson, Ralf Jaumann, Thomas B. McCord, Christophe Sotin, Katrin Stephan, Cristina M. Dalle Ore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The spectral position of the 3.6 μm continuum peak measured on Cassini-VIMS I/F spectra is used as a marker to infer the temperature of the regolith particles covering the surfaces of Saturn's icy satellites. This feature is characterizing the crystalline water ice spectrum which is the dominant compositional endmember of the satellites' surfaces. Laboratory measurements indicate that the position of the 3.6 μm peak of pure water ice is temperature-dependent, shifting towards shorter wavelengths when the sample is cooled, from about 3.65 μm at T=123 K to about 3.55 μm at T=88 K. A similar method was already applied to VIMS Saturn's rings mosaics to retrieve ring particles temperature (Filacchione, G., Ciarniello, M., Capaccioni, F., et al., 2014. Icarus, 241, 45-65). We report here about the daytime temperature variations observed on the icy satellites as derived from three different VIMS observation types: (a) a sample of 240 disk-integrated I/F observations of Saturn's regular satellites collected by VIMS during years 2004-2011 with solar phase in the 20°-40° range, corresponding to late morning-early afternoon local times. This dataset is suitable to exploit the temperature variations at hemispherical scale, resulting in average temperature T <88 K for Mimas, T 88 K for Enceladus, T <88 K for Tethys, T=98-118 K for Dione, T=108-128 K for Rhea, T=118-128 K for Hyperion, T=128-148 and T > 168 K for Iapetus' trailing and leading hemispheres, respectively. A typical ±5 K uncertainty is associated to the temperature retrieval. On Tethys and Dione, for which observations on both leading and trailing hemispheres are available, in average daytime temperatures higher of about 10 K on the trailing than on the leading hemisphere are inferred. (b) Satellites disk-resolved observations taken at 20-40 km pixel-1 resolution are suitable to map daytime temperature variations across surfaces' features, such as Enceladus' tiger stripes and Tethys' equatorial dark lens. These datasets allow to disentangle solar illumination conditions from temperature distribution when observing surface's features with strong thermal contrast. (c) Daytime average maps covering large regions of the surfaces are used to compare the inferred temperature with geomorphological features (impact craters, chasmatae, equatorial radiation lenses and active areas) and albedo variations. Temperature maps are built by mining the complete VIMS dataset collected in years 2004-2009 (pre-equinox) and in 2009-2012 (post equinox) by selecting pixels with max 150 km pixel-1 resolution. VIMS-derived temperature maps allow to identify thermal anomalies across the equatorial lens of Mimas and Tethys. A temperature T > 115K is measured above Enceladus' Damascus and Alexandria sulci in the south pole region. VIMS has the sensitivity to follow seasonal temperature changes: on Tethys, Dione and Rhea higher temperature are measured above the south hemisphere during pre-equinox and above the north hemisphere during post-equinox epochs. The measured temperature distribution appears correlated with surface albedo features: in fact temperature increases on low albedo units located on Tethys, Dione and Rhea trailing hemispheres. The thermal anomaly region on Rhea's Inktomi crater detected by CIRS (Howett, C. J. A., Spencer, J. R., Hurford, T., et al., 2014. Icarus, 241, 239-247) is confirmed by VIMS: this area appears colder with respect to surrounding terrains when observed at the same local solar time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-313
Number of pages22
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Ices
  • Satellites
  • Saturn
  • Spectroscopy
  • Surfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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