Rings of nonspherical, axisymmetric bodies
Abstract
We investigate the dynamical behavior of rings around bodies whose shapes depart considerably from that of a sphere. To this end, we have developed a new selfgravitating discrete element Nbody code, and employed a local simulation method to simulate a patch of the ring. The central body is modeled as a symmetric (oblate or prolate) ellipsoid, or defined through the characteristic frequencies (circular, vertical, epicyclic) that represent its gravitational field. Through our simulations we explore how a ring's behavior  characterized by dynamical properties like impact frequency, granular temperature, number density, vertical thickness and radial width  varies with the changing gravitational potential of the central body. We also contrast properties of rings about large central bodies (e.g. Saturn) with those of smaller ones (e.g. Chariklo). Finally, we investigate how the characteristic frequencies of a central body, restricted to being a solid of revolution with an equatorial plane of symmetry, affect the ring dynamics. The latter process may be employed to qualitatively understand the dynamics of rings about any symmetric solid of revolution.
 Publication:

Icarus
 Pub Date:
 January 2018
 DOI:
 10.1016/j.icarus.2017.07.012
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1611.06543
 Bibcode:
 2018Icar..299...97G
 Keywords:

 Celestial mechanics;
 Centaurs;
 Collisional physics;
 Planetary rings;
 Planetdisk interactions;
 Astrophysics  Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
 EPrint:
 24 pages, 23 figures, submitted to Icarus