DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 16. Rings Posters
Displayed, 9:00am Tuesday - 3:00pm Saturday, Highlighted, Wednesday, November 28, 2001, 10:30am-12:30pm, French Market Exhibit Hall

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[16.05] Scaling of density structures induced by moons embedded in planetary rings

M. Sremcevic, F. Spahn (Inst. of Physics, Univ. of Potsdam, Germany)

We investigate the action of small moons embedded in dense planetary rings. A previously developed model, which includes collisional viscous diffusion of ring granular matter and gravitational scattering by the moon, is extended through analytic solution and scalings of stationary density structures induced by the moon.

Depending on the size of the moonlet and properties of the ring, two types of density structures are induced by the presence of the embedded body: a gap around a whole circumference of the ring and an S-shaped structure centered at the moon's position. Critical radius of the embedded satellite, needed to open the gap in Saturn's B ring, is found to be Rc \approx 1.5 km. A new analytic solution is derived and the process is investigated using Green's functions. Then, throw distance (azimuthal size of structure) is calculated and analyzed. Structures are radially narrow and very elongated along the circumference of the ring, but their size offers the chance to be resolved in future Cassini experiments in the saturnian system. High resolution observations, mostly the Imaging experiment, can be used to probe Saturn's rings and reveal properties of actual ring matter, such as kinematic viscosity.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: msremac@agnld.uni-potsdam.de

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