DPS 34th Meeting, October 2002
Session 24. Rings and Dust
Oral, Chair(s): H.B. Throop and N.J. Rappaport, Wednesday, October 9, 2002, 11:20am-12:50pm, Room M

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[24.03] The Orbits of Metis and Adrastea: The Origin and Significance of their Inclinations.

M.W. Evans, C.C. Porco (SwRI), D.P. Hamilton (U.~Maryland)

The {\em Cassini} ISS narrow angle camera (NAC) took several hundred images of the main jovian ring in December 2000 and January 2001 during that spacecraft's flyby of the planet Jupiter. The small inner satellites Metis and Adrastea are visible in a subset of these images. In addition there are a small number of {\em Galileo} images of these satellites taken during the period 1997 to 2001.

If Metis and Adrastea are the source of the material in the jovian main ring, then according to dynamical models (Grün {\em et al}.~1980, {\em Icarus} 44, 326; Showalter {\em et al}.~1987, {\em Icarus} 94, 458) the ring's vertical structure will be determined by the inclinations of the rings' source bodies. A definitive measure of the satellites' inclinations would allow a more confident assertion of the relationship between ring and moons.

We have fit the orbits of Metis and Adrastea using {\em Cassini} data and additional images from the {\em Galileo} SSI experiment and have found statistically significant inclinations that can be directly compared to the best estimates for the ring's vertical thickness. In addition, we are investigating past resonant configurations with Io as a possible cause for Metis and Adrastea's small inclinations. We will present the results of all these investigations.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.