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Towards a theory for the uranian rings

Goldreich, Peter and Tremaine, Scott (1979) Towards a theory for the uranian rings. Nature, 277 (5692). pp. 97-99. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/277097a0.

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Interparticle collisions, radiation drag and differential precession all tend to disrupt the rings of Uranus. The first two effects lead to radial spreading which would disrupt a free ring in ≲ 10^8 yr. We propose that the rings are confined in radius by gravitational torques from a series of small satellites that orbit within the ring system. Differential precession tends to destroy the apse alignment of the elliptical ε ring. We suggest that apse alignment is maintained by the self-gravity of the ring. The resulting mass of the ε ring is ~5 × 10^(18) g. Its radial confinement requires (for example) a pair of satellites of mass ~10^(19) g, in circular orbits roughly 500 km away on either side of the ring.

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Additional Information:© 1979 Macmillan Journals Ltd. We thank G. Colombo and P. Nicholson for helpful discussions. This research was supported in part by NSF grant AST 76-24281 and NASA grant NGL-05-002-003.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFAST 76-24281
Issue or Number:5692
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130304-081212930
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37263
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 Mar 2013 16:13
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:27

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