DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 20. Planetary Rings II
Poster, Highlighted on, Wednesday, September 3, 2003, 3:00-5:30pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[20.09] Boundary Layers in Self-Gravitating, Collisional Rings

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

Recently, it has been proposed that boundary layers on the edges of planetary rings may play a key role in the behavior of the ring as a whole. In particular, Chiang and Goldreich (2002) proposed that that narrow eccentric rings have high-velocity-dispersion boundary layers that work against apse alignment. Self-gravity should be a key player in the formation of these boundary layers, as it can cause local gravitational instabilities and local regions where the particle have strongly correlated epicyclic phases. Thus, any model of ring edges should include both collisions between particles, and self-gravity.

In this work, we will present the first results of our simulations of edges of planetary rings using a collisional, self-gravitating rings code N-body. The interior of the ring is treated as a collisional boundary condition with a mean gravitational field representative of a broad ring. We find that when the density profile begins as a step function, there is a period of spreading at the edge of the ring which eventually equilibrates to a steady-state profile.

This work has been made possible by a NASA Graduate Student Research Program grant and by 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, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.