ScienceDaily is running a story about the recently discovered interaction between Saturn's A-ring and one of Saturn's small moons, Enceladus. Thanks to data from Cassini, scientists have discovered that ejected matter from Enceladus' ice geysers is absorbed into the A-ring
, where it is then trapped. We discussed the geysers themselves
a few years ago, and researchers have been working since then to determine where the material was going. Quoting:
"This is the latest surprising phenomenon associated with the ice geysers of Enceladus to be discovered or confirmed by Cassini scientists. Earlier, the geysers were found to be responsible for the content of the E-ring. Next, the whole magnetic environment of Saturn was found to be weighed down by the material spewing from Enceladus, which becomes plasma -- a gas of electrically charged particles. Now, Cassini scientists confirm that the plasma, which creates a donut-shaped cloud around Saturn, is being snatched by Saturn's A-ring, which acts like a giant sponge where the plasma is absorbed."