35th Meeting of the AAS Division on Dynamical Astronomy, April 2004
Session 9 Satellites \& Rings
Oral, Friday, April 23, 2004, 2:20-5:35pm,

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[9.05] On the Role of Phase Alignments on Planetary Ring Edges

J. W. Weiss, G. R. Stewart (CU/LASP)

We present our work on the role of epicyclic phase alignments on the edges of self-gravitating planetary rings. We will show the results of our work with the narrow ring instability, first reported on at last year's meeting. In particular, we will demonstrate that the instability on the edges of the narrow rings are not a global fluid instability and are probably a local phenomenon. The driver for the instability appears to be the particles' need to advance in their epicyclic paths combined with the tight packing, which prevents them from being able to move along their orbits.

We will demonstrate that the early stages of the instability do not involve communication across the narrow ring. Thus, the instability should be applicable to broad rings and not just to our unphysically narrow rings.

We will also show the results of our models of the edges of broad rings. In this case, we see that the entire ring edge quickly comes into approximate phase alignment. Unlike previous studies, we only rely on the self-gravity of the ring and particle-particle collisions to get this state. Possible implications of these results will be discussed.

This work is supported by a NASA GSRP and the Cassini mission.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: weissj@colorado.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #2
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.