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New findings have emerged about five miniature moon nestled in and around Saturn’s rings

We found these moons are scooping up particles of dust and ice from the rings to form the little skirts around their equators, Buratti said. A denser body will be ball-shaped because gravitation would pull the material”. Maybe this process is going on through the rings, and the most significant ring particles are also accreting ring material around them. Detailed views of those tiny ring moons could tell us more about the behavior of the ring particles themselves, stated Cassini project student Linda Spilker, additionally at JPL. Among the satellites studied, the surfaces of these closest to Saturn, Daphnis and Pan, are the most changed by ring materials.

The surfaces of the moons Atlas, Prometheus and Pandora, further from Saturn, have a ring material like well, but they are also coated with the bright icy particles and water vapor from the plume spraying from Enceladus. The key puzzle piece was a data set from Cassini’s Visible and infrared mapping Spectrometer, which gathered visible light to the human eye and additionally infrared light of longer wavelengths. This was the very first time Cassini was close enough to make a spectral map of the surface of the innermost moon Pan. By analyzing the spectra, VIMS was able to learn about the composition of materials of the five moons. VIMS saw the ring moons closest to Saturn seem the reddest, very comparable to the color of the primary rings.