Space Science Reviews

, 215:11 | Cite as

Circumplanetary Dust Populations

  • Frank SpahnEmail author
  • Manuel Sachse
  • Martin Seiß
  • Hsiang-Wen Hsu
  • Sascha Kempf
  • Mihály Horányi
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Cosmic Dust from the Laboratory to the Stars


We summarize the current state of observations of circumplanetary dust populations, including both dilute and dense rings and tori around the giant planets, ejecta clouds engulfing airless moons, and rings around smaller planetary bodies throughout the Solar System. We also discuss the theoretical models that enable these observations to be understood in terms of the sources, sinks and transport of various dust populations. The dynamics and resulting transport of the particles can be quite complex, due to the fact that their motion is influenced by neutral and plasma drag, radiation pressure, and electromagnetic forces—all in addition to gravity. The relative importance of these forces depends on the environment, as well as the makeup and size of the particles. Possible dust sources include the generation of ejecta particles by impacts, active volcanoes and geysers, and the capture of exogenous particles. Possible dust sinks include collisions with moons, rings, or the central planet, erosion due to sublimation and sputtering, even ejection and escape from the circumplanetary environment.


Circumplanetary dust Planetary rings and tori Dust sources and sinks Dust dynamics 



We thank an anonymous referee for his considerable advise in making the paper more convincing. We acknowledge the support by the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission and by ISSI. The work of M. Seiß and M. Sachse has been funded by the DLR (German Space Agency) with the project (50OH1401).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Spahn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Manuel Sachse
    • 1
  • Martin Seiß
    • 1
  • Hsiang-Wen Hsu
    • 2
  • Sascha Kempf
    • 2
  • Mihály Horányi
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Physik und AstronomieUniversität PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA

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