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Towards a theory for Neptune's arc rings

Goldreich, Peter and Tremaine, Scott and Borderies, Nicole (1986) Towards a theory for Neptune's arc rings. Astronomical Journal, 92 (2). pp. 490-494. ISSN 0004-6256. doi:10.1086/114178.

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It is proposed that the incomplete rings of Neptune consist of a number of short arcs centered on the corotation resonances of a single satellite. The satellite must have a radius of the order of 100 km or more and move on an inclined orbit. Corotation resonances are located at potential maxima. Thus, mechanical energy dissipated by interparticle collisions must be continually replenished to prevent the arcs from spreading. It is shown that each corotation resonance is associated with a nearby Lindblad resonance, which excites the ring particles' orbital eccentricity, thus supplying the energy required to maintain the arc. The ultimate energy reservoir is the satellite's orbital energy. Therefore, interaction with the arcs damps the satellite's orbital inclination. The self-gravity of the arcs limits their contraction and enforces a relation between arc length and mass. The estimated arc masses are so small, of the order of 10^16 g, that the satellite's orbital inclination suffers negligible decay over the age of the solar system. The inferred surface mass densities are comparable to those found in the major rings of Saturn and Uranus.

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Additional Information:© 1986 American Astronomical Society. Received 23 April 1986. We thank Phil Nicholson for discussions of the observations. This work was supported by grants from A TP Planetologie 1984 and 1985, by National Science Foundation grants AST-8412365 and AST-8521033, by NASA grant NGL-05-002-003, and by an operating grant from NSERC.
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ATP Planétologie1984
ATP Planétologie1985
Issue or Number:2
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ID Code:37437
Deposited On:11 Mar 2013 21:17
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:28

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