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Sharp edges of planetary rings

Borderies, Nicole and Goldreich, Peter and Tremaine, Scott (1982) Sharp edges of planetary rings. Nature, 299 (5880). pp. 209-211. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/299209a0.

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The ring systems of Saturn and Uranus exhibit several sharp edges across which the optical depth drops from order unity to essentially zero. At least two and perhaps all of these features are associated with the location of orbital resonances between a satellite and the ring particles. It is remarkable that the optical depth varies on a distance scale which is much finer than that over which angular momentum can be transferred between a satellite and the ring material. The important features of this phenomenon are: (1) A perturbed band of width Δa/a ≃ (M_s/M_p)^(½) adjacent to the edge within which the angular momentum transfer occurs. (2) Streamlines perturbed such that the angular momentum luminosity decreases smoothly across the band to zero at the edge even though the optical depth remains constant. (3) Dynamical equilibrium requires a relation between the random velocity, the rate of deformation and the optical depth.

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Additional Information:© 1982 Nature Publishing Group. Received 23 June; accepted 29 July 1982. We thank E. Danielson, A. Lane, J. Lissauer, R. Terrile and L. Tyler for helpful discussions. During this research N.B. held a NSF US-France exchange postdoctoral fellowship and a grant from ATP Planétologie 1981. P.G. acknowledges support from NSF grant AST 80-20005 and NASA grant NGL-05-002-003. S.T. acknowledges support from NASA grants NSG-7643 and NGL-22-009-638. This work is contribution 3797 from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
ATP Planétologie 1981UNSPECIFIED
NSFAST 80-20005
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences3797
Issue or Number:5880
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130418-084850346
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Official Citation:Borderies, N., P. Goldreich, et al. (1982). "Sharp edges of planetary rings." Nature 299(5880): 209-211.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:38009
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:18 Apr 2013 20:00
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:32

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