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The Formation of Sharp Edges in Planetary Rings by Nearby Satellites

Borderies, Nicole and Goldreich, Peter and Tremaine, Scott (1989) The Formation of Sharp Edges in Planetary Rings by Nearby Satellites. Icarus, 80 (2). pp. 344-360. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(89)90145-0.

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Sharp edges, boundaries between regions of high and low optical depth in planetary rings, are maintained by shepherd satellites which transfer angular momentum to and from the ring particles. We derive equations that govern the shapes of the perturbed streamlines near such a boundary. These equations are solved for a simple numerical model whose parameters are chosen to resemble those of the Encke division and its associated satellite. The results of our calculation faithfully reproduce the sharp edges which bound the division and imply that the ring thickness in the unperturbed regions far from the edges is of order 10 m. In particular, the angle-averaged surface density is found to vary on a much shorter radial length scale than that over which the satellite torque is applied. We demonstrate that this striking feature is related to the local reversal of the viscous transport of angular momentum in the most strongly perturbed regions.

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Additional Information:© 1989 by Academic Press, Inc. Received August 1, 1988; revised January 5, 1989. The research reported in this paper was written while N.B. was a NRC research associate at JPL. Support was provided for P.G. by NASA Grant NGL-05-002-003 and by NSF Grant AST 861299 and for S.T. by an operating grant from NSERC.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFAST 861299
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130226-153610592
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Official Citation:Nicole Borderies, Peter Goldreich, Scott Tremaine, The formation of sharp edges in planetary rings by nearby satellites, Icarus, Volume 80, Issue 2, August 1989, Pages 344-360, ISSN 0019-1035, 10.1016/0019-1035(89)90145-0. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37158
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:26 Feb 2013 23:53
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:27

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