Noncircular features in Saturn's rings II: The C ring
Abbreviated Journal Title
Saturn, rings; Occultations; Planetary rings; PLANETARY RINGS; OCCULTATION OBSERVATIONS; VOYAGER OBSERVATIONS; URANIAN; RINGS; B RING; STELLAR OCCULTATION; ECCENTRIC RINGLET; CASSINI DIVISION; SMALL SATELLITES; APSE ALIGNMENT; Astronomy & Astrophysics
We present a comprehensive survey of sharp-edged features in Saturn's C ring, using data from radio and stellar occultation experiments carried out by the Cassini spacecraft over a period of more than five years. Over 100 occultations are included in the combined data set, enabling us to identify systematic radial perturbations as small as 200 m on the edges of ringlets and gaps. We systematically examine all of the noncircular features in the C ring, refine the eccentricities, precession rates and width variations of the known eccentric ringlets, identify connections between several noncircular gap and ringlet edges and nearby satellite resonances, and report the discovery of a host of free normal modes on ring and gap edges. We confirm a close association between the Titan (or Colombo) ringlet (a = 77878.7 km) and the Titan 1:0 apsidal resonance: the apoapse of the ringlet is nearly aligned with Titan's mean longitude, and the pattern speed closely matches Titan's mean motion. Similar forced perturbations associated with the Titan resonance are detectable in more than two dozen other features located throughout the inner C ring as far as 3500 km from the Titan resonance. The inner edge of the Titan ringlet exhibits several strong outer Lindblad resonance (OLR-type) normal modes, and scans of the outer edge reveal inner Lindblad resonance (ILR-type) normal modes. The Maxwell ringlet (a = 87,510 km), in contrast, appears to be a freely-precessing eccentric ringlet, with post-fit RMS residuals for the inner and outer edges of only 0.23 and 0.16 km, respectively. The best-fitting edge precession rates differ by over 10 times the estimated uncertainty in the rate of the inner edge, consistent with a slow libration about an equilibrium configuration on a decadal timescale. Using self-gravity models for ringlet apse alignment, we estimate the masses and surface densities of the Titan and Maxwell ringlets. The Bond ringlet (a = 88,710 km), about 17 km wide, shows no free eccentricity but lies near two strong resonances: the Mimas 3:1 inner vertical resonance (IVR) at 88702.2 km and the Prometheus 2:1 ILR at 88713.1 km. We find no measurable perturbation from the Mimas IVR, but a clear m = 2 signature of the appropriate phase and pattern speed for the Prometheus ILR on the outer edge of the ringlet, along with free ILR-type normal modes with wave numbers m = 3,4, 5, 6 and 7. The Dawes gap, located at 90,210 km, and its associated embedded ringlet, also show both free and forced perturbations, and as in the case of the Maxwell gap, the outer edge of the Dawes gap appears to be sympathetically forced by the nearby ringlet. The pattern of newly identified normal modes coexisting on the sharp edges of ringlets and gaps is in excellent agreement with theoretical predictions, with ILR-type modes on outer ringlet (and inner gap) edges and OLR-type modes on inner ringlet (and outer gap) edges, representing standing waves between the resonance locations and the ring edges. Modes with larger vertical bar m vertical bar generally have narrower resonant cavities, and of the dozens of detected normal modes, none has been identified with a resonance radius that falls outside the ring material. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Noncircular features in Saturn's rings II: The C ring" (2014). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 5890.