The orbital evolution of multiple massive bodies trapped in the same corotation resonance site has not yet been studied in depth, but could be relevant to the origins and history of small moons like Saturn's moon Aegaeon. We conduct numerical simulations of multiple bodies trapped within a corotation resonance and examine what happens to these bodies when they have close encounters. Compared to simulations with equal mass bodies, simulations with one body more massive than the others may be more likely to feature an asymmetry in the phase space of semi-major axis and mean longitude. That is, bodies on one side of phase space have a slightly greater tendency to lose angular momentum, while bodies on the other side gain angular momentum. With this asymmetry, the transfer of angular momentum during gravitational encounters makes it more likely for the most massive body rather than other bodies to approach the center of the corotation site. More work is needed to determine if this sort of process can significantly affect the orbital evolution of small moons like Aegaeon.
AAS/Division of Dynamical Astronomy Meeting
- Pub Date:
- April 2018