How Janus' orbital swap affects the edge of Saturn's A ring?
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We present a study of the behavior of Saturn’s A ring outer edge, using images and occultation data obtained by the Cassini spacecraft over a period of 8 years from 2006 to 2014. More than 5000 images and 170 occultations of the A ring outer edge are analyzed. Our fits confirm the expected response to the Janus 7:6 Inner Lindblad resonance (ILR) between 2006 and 2010, when Janus was on the inner leg of its regular orbit swap with Epimetheus. During this period, the edge exhibits a regular 7-lobed pattern with an amplitude of 12.8 km and one minimum aligned with the orbital longitude of Janus, as has been found by previous investigators. However, between 2010 and 2014, the Janus/Epimetheus orbit swap moves the Janus 7:6 LR away from the A ring outer edge, and the 7-lobed pattern disappears. In addition to several smaller-amplitudes modes, indeed, we found a variety of pattern speeds with different azimuthal wave numbers, and many of them may arise from resonant cavities between the ILR and the ring edge; also we found some other signatures consistent with tesseral resonances that could be associated with inhomogeneities in Saturn’s gravity field. Moreover, these signatures do not have a fixed pattern speed. We present an analysis of these data and suggest a possible dynamical model for the behavior of the A ring’s outer edge after 2010.
AuthorsEl Moutamid, M; Nicholson, PD; French, RG; Tiscareno, MS; Murray, CD; Evans, MW; French, CM; Hedman, MM; Burns, JA
- Physics and Astronomy