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M. C. Lewis, G. R. Stewart (Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics)
Previous non-self-gravitating simulations of the region around the Encke gap have shown extensive complex dynamics in the region due to the perturbation caused by the moon Pan when dissipative particle collisions are considered. While the behavior of the wakes in those simulations shows features seen in Voyager observations, not all the observations are properly modeled. Adding self-gravity increases the realism of the simulated system and could potentially resolve the discrepancies with observations. The self-gravity also adds the behavior of gravitational clustering to the system (we break from calling these structures wakes to eliminate confusing them with the Pan wakes).
The new simulations are done using local methods that allow for particle sizes near those present in the outer A-ring. In addition to comparison with previous results, the new simulations are also compared to unperturbed simulations. Our preliminary results indicate that the perturbation causes significant differences in the behavior of the clustering that occurs in the area. We have also found that the clustering causes the strength of the observed Pan wakes to be strongly dependent on the local surface density of the rings.
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