Publication Abstracts

Barbara and Esposito 2002

Barbara, J.M., and L.W. Esposito, 2002: Moonlet collisions and the effects of tidally modified accretion in Saturn's F ring. Icarus, 160, 161-171, doi:10.1006/icar.2002.6962.

We both test and offer an alternative to a meteoroid bombardment model (M.R. Showalter 1998, Science 282, 1099-1102) and suggest that anomalous localized brightenings in the F ring observed by Voyager result from disruptive collisions involving poorly consolidated moonlets, or "rubble piles." This model can also explain the transient events observed during ring plane crossing. We have developed an evolutionary model that considers both the competing effects of accretion and disruption at the location of the F ring. Our numerical model is a Markov process where probabilities of mass transfer between the states of the system form a "transition matrix." Successive multiplications of this matrix by the state vector generate expectation values of the distribution after each time step as the system approaches quasi-equilibrium. Competing effects of accretion and disruption in the F ring are found to lead to a bimodal distribution of ring particle sizes. In fact, our simulation predicts the presence of a belt of kilometer-sized moonlets in the F ring. These moonlets may continually disrupt one another and re-accrete on short time scales. We also agree with J.N. Cuzzi and J.A. Burns (1988, Icarus 74, 284-324), who suggest that the classical F ring itself may be the consequence of a relatively recent collision between two of the largest of these yet unseen objects. Cassini observations can confirm the existence of the moonlet belt by directly observing these objects or the waves they create in the rings.

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BibTeX Citation

@article{ba08100v,
  author={Barbara, J. M. and Esposito, L. W.},
  title={Moonlet collisions and the effects of tidally modified accretion in Saturn's F ring},
  year={2002},
  journal={Icarus},
  volume={160},
  pages={161--171},
  doi={10.1006/icar.2002.6962},
}

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RIS Citation

TY  - JOUR
ID  - ba08100v
AU  - Barbara, J. M.
AU  - Esposito, L. W.
PY  - 2002
TI  - Moonlet collisions and the effects of tidally modified accretion in Saturn's F ring
JA  - Icarus
VL  - 160
SP  - 161
EP  - 171
DO  - 10.1006/icar.2002.6962
ER  -

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