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About Saturn & Its Moons

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Magnetosphere - Recent Discoveries - Magnetospheric Oxygen

One of the most remarkable discoveries about Saturn's magnetosphere was made before Cassini even reached Saturn by the Cassini's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS).

Capable of observing in the ultraviolet wavelength range, UVIS detected a massive buildup of neutral atomic oxygen while the spacecraft was en route to Saturn. A few months after the initial detection, UVIS data showed the large cloud of escaping oxygen atoms had dissipated just as rapidly as it had appeared. Scientists now suspect the sporadic plume at the south pole of Enceladus is responsible.