Hamilton, D.P. and J.A. Burns 1994. The origin of Saturn's E
ring: Self-sustained, naturally. Science 264, 550-553.
Saturn's diffuse E ring spans the region between 3 and 8 saturnian
radii ($R_S$), has its peak brightness near the orbit of the satellite
Enceladus (3.95$R_S$), and is thought to be composed primarily of icy
particles $1(\pm0.3)$ microns in radius. Such particles are shown to
move periodically along highly elliptical paths that cross the orbits
of several saturnian satellites: the resulting energetic collisions of
E ring particles with embedded satellites are capable of sustaining
the E ring at its current optical depth. With several reasonable
assumptions, this model naturally selects Enceladus as the primary
source of ring material; it may also provide mechanisms for generating
the unusual amounts of submicron dust in the neighboring F and G
rings, for explaining the excess of OH molecules observed within the
E ring, and for affecting the brightnesses of nearby satellites.
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