Nonradial oscillations of Saturn: Implications for ring system structure
AuthorMarley, Mark Scott
AdvisorHubbard, William B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractNumerous wave and gap features observed in Voyager data of Saturn's rings are produced by resonances between the orbital frequencies of known external satellites and ring particle orbits. This thesis investigates the possibility that other, currently unassociated, ring features are generated by perturbations on ring participle orbits produced by non-axisymmetric gravitational fields resulting from acoustic oscillation modes of the planet. The frequencies of Saturnian low degree (l ≤ 8) fundamental (or f) mode oscillations are calculated for a variety of Saturn interior models which span the range of uncertainty of the interior structure of the planet. Corrections for rotation, oblateness, and possible differential rotation have been applied. Only the low degree f-modes are found to have frequencies and likely wave amplitudes in the range necessary to produce gap or wave features in the rings. The calculated positions of outer Lindblad resonances (OLR) for the degree l = 2,3,4, and 5 sectoral f-modes of a single Saturn model lie near four previously unassociated C-ring features. These features are the Maxwell gap and three waves identified as being forced at either OLR or inner vertical resonances. The outer vertical resonance (OVR) of the l = 5, m = 4 mode also overlaps the location of a wave which may be forced at either an OVR or an inner Lindblad resonance. Four other similar wave features, however, cannot be explained by oscillation mode resonances. This failure to account for all of the comparable unassociated C-ring waves is the principal inadequacy of the hypothesis. Other observed properties of the wave features, however, including their azimuthal wavenumbers m and the variation of amplitude with proposed oscillation mode degree are consistent with the proposed forcing. Planetary oscillation amplitudes of ∼1 m are required for gap opening; wave amplitudes of ∼10 cm are required for density wave production. The C-ring thus serves as a very sensitive f-mode detector. Observations by the Cassini spacecraft should unequivocally determine if the C-ring features are produced by planetary oscillation modes. If these observations confirm the association, significant new constraints could be placed on Saturnian energy transport, differential rotation, and core size.
Degree ProgramPlanetary Sciences