Friday, July 12, 2013

1307.3230 (R. Sfair)

Dynamics of the dust rings and satellites of Uranus and of the Saturn's F-ring    [PDF]

R. Sfair
The $\mu$ and $\nu$ rings of Uranus form a secondary ring-moon system with the satellites Puck, Mab,Portia, and Rosalind. These rings are tenuous and dominated by micrometric particles, which can be strongly disturbed by the solar radiation pressure. We performed a numerical analysis of the orbital evolution of a sample of particles under the influence of the solar radiation force and the planetary oblateness, combined with the gravitational interaction with the close satellites. The most likely result is a collisions and the deposition of particles onto the surface of these satellites. Since this mechanism tends to cause a depletion of material of the rings, we investigate additional sources for these dust particles. Adopting a rough estimative of the flux of interplanetary meteoroids, we found that the ejections from Mab could generate a ring with optical depth comparable with the observations. A similar analysis was carried out for the F-ring dust band. The damping due to the Saturn's oblateness prevents the overstated changes of the eccentricity and increases in the lifetime of the particles. Therewithal photometric study of the F-ring using Cassini images revealed that substantial secular increase in the brightness of Saturn's F ring has occurred in the last 25 years. The shapes of the phase curves from Cassini and Voyager are similar, suggesting that although the number of dust particles has increased, the overall distribution of sizes is unchanged. The dust bands that permeate the rings of Uranus were observed late in 2007 during the equinox, when the Sun crossed the ring plane. Images taken with the VLT were processed and then combined to result in long-exposure frames. For each frame, the north and south radial profiles were extracted. They will be used to develop a photometric model.
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