AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 43 The Sun, Heliosphere and Planets
Oral, Monday, January 10, 2005, 2:00-3:30pm, Royal Palm 4-6

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[43.07] Spokes in Saturn's Rings

A. J. Farmer (Caltech, IAS), P. Goldreich (IAS)

The ``spokes'' in Saturn's rings have eluded explanation since their discovery by the Voyager spacecraft. These ghostly radial dust lanes spring into existence in under five minutes, then fade away in hours as the Keplerian rotation of the rings distorts them. I shall present a new model for spoke formation which looks set to reproduce the observations. In particular we can account for the occurrence of spokes around the radius of corotation of the planet with its rings, a point which has evaded previous studies. New data from the Cassini mission should provide even more stringent tests of our theory.

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.