Available online 28 March 2014

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The discovery and dynamical evolution of an object at the outer edge of Saturn’s A ring


Highlights

We report the discovery of a sub-km object orbiting near the edge of Saturn’s A ring.

The object’s perturbing effect on the rings has been detectable since May 2012.

There is evidence of a changing orbit and possible disruption in early 2013.

The object could have formed in situ due to the Janus resonance near the ring edge.

Abstract

We report on the serendipitous discovery of an unresolved, evolving, sub-km-radius object with a semimajor axis <10 km inside that of the edge of Saturn’s main rings. The object has been detectable in Cassini images since at least May 2012 and its changing orbit shows evidence of a possible disruption in early 2013.


Graphical abstract

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