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Radar polarimetry of Saturn’s rings: Modeling ring particles as fractal...

Mishchenko, M., and J. M. Dlugach (2009), Radar polarimetry of Saturn’s rings: Modeling ring particles as fractal aggregates built of small ice monomers, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer, 110, 1706-1712, doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2009.01.017.

We analyze ground-based radar polarimetric observations of Saturn’s rings at a wavelength of 12.6 cm by employing the model of a vertically and horizontally planeparallel homogeneous slab composed of clumpy particles in the form of fractal aggregates of small ice monomers. Our model takes full account of the effects of polarization, multiple scattering, and coherent backscattering. Using efficient superposition T-matrix and vector radiative transfer codes, we perform computations of the backscattering circular polarization ratio for fractal aggregates generated with a cluster–cluster aggregation model and having the following characteristics: monomer refractive index m = 1.78 + i0.003; monomer packing density p = 0.2; fractal dimensions Df = 2.5 and 3; and overall fractal radii R in the range 4 < R < 10 cm. In order to obtain physically realistic values of single-scattering properties of the aggregates we perform averaging over an ensemble of clusters generated for the same values of fractal parameters but having different geometrical configurations of the monomers. We conclude that in the framework of the above morphological model of Saturn’s rings and the specific cluster–cluster aggregation procedure, it may be problematic to obtain a satisfactory and realistic agreement between theoretical computations and the observed values of the radar circular polarization ratio.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)