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The formation of the Cassini division in Saturn's rings

Goldreich, Peter and Tremaine, Scott (1978) The formation of the Cassini division in Saturn's rings. Icarus, 34 (2). pp. 240-253. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(78)90165-3.

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The satellite Mimas excites a trailing spiral density wave in Saturn's rings at the position of the 2:1 resonance. The density wave carries negative angular momentum and propagates outward. The wave is damped by a combination of nonlinear and viscous effects, and its negative angular momentum is transferred to the ring particles. Consequently, the particles just outside the 2:1 resonance spiral inward, opening a gap. The inner edge of the gap is close to the resonance position in agreement with the location of the inner edge of the Cassini division. Despite its tiny mass, Minas is able to clear a gap as wide as the Cassini division. We estimate the ability of Saturn's satellites to open other gaps in the rings. The upper limit to the width of Encke's division implies that the velocity dispersion of the ring particles is <10^(-2) cm sec^(-1).

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Additional Information:© 1978 by Academic Press, Inc. Received August 8, 1977; accepted November 18, 1977. We thank Alar Toomre for discussions and encouragement. This work was supported by NASA Grant NGL-05-002-003 and NSF Grants AST 76-24281 and AST 76-80801. S. Tremaine was supported by a Richard Chace Tolman Fellowship and a National Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFAST 76-24281
NSFAST 76-80801
Richard Chace Tolman FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
National Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130305-112750779
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Official Citation:Peter Goldreich, Scott Tremaine, The formation of the Cassini division in Saturn's rings, Icarus, Volume 34, Issue 2, May 1978, Pages 240-253, ISSN 0019-1035, 10.1016/0019-1035(78)90165-3. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37304
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:05 Mar 2013 21:10
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:28

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