37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 30 Outer Planets
Poster, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Lecture Room 5

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[30.13] Dynamical Instability and Accretion in the Closely-Spaced Inner Uranian Moon System

J. A. Meyer (Stanford University), J. J. Lissauer (NASA Ames Research Center)

We have numerically integrated the 13 largest Uranian regular satellites, including mutual gravitation, for a period of three million years. We used the hybrid symplectic integrator in the Mercury package (Chambers 1999, MNRAS 304, 793). Each collision was modeled as completely inelastic. The simulations include the five classical moons as well as the eight brightest inner moons. The Voyager-discovered satellite masses are ill-constrained, due to the lack of observed gravitational perturbations. The masses are estimated using the observed radii combined with an assumed density. We simultaneously simulate these uncertainties in mass and explore the dynamical interactions of closely-spaced satellite systems by allowing the common density of the non-classical moons to run from 0.1 to 30 g/cc.

For integrations neglecting Uranus's oblateness, the 3 Myr interval was sufficient time for one to six collisions, with smaller assumed densities resulting in later and fewer collisions. Calculations including the effects of Uranus's oblateness show fewer collisions, with almost all runs showing at least one collision within 3 Myr. While Uranus's classical moons appear stable for the duration of the integrations, the inner moons are much less stable and collide on a timescale well within the Solar System's lifetime. These short collision times imply that the non-classical moons are significantly younger than the rest of the Solar System and highly chaotic.

First collision times agree qualitatively with the results of Duncan and Lissauer (1997, Icarus 125, 1). Our novel results include the study of subsequent collisions, the study of the low-density regime, and eccentricity analysis. I will also present the results of integrations that include tidal damping of eccentricities. These calculations constrain the importance of tidal effects in the system and allow us to draw conclusions about the formation history of the Uranian satellites.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
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