Fine-Scale Density Wave Structure of Saturn’s Rings: A Kinetic Theory Conference Paper uri icon


  • This article reviews recent studies of morphology and dynamics of low and moderately high optical depth regions of the Saturnian ring system of discrete mutually gravitating particles with special emphasis on its finescale of the order of 100 m structures (almost regularly spaced, aligned cylindric density enhancements and optically-thin zones with the width and the spacing between them of roughly several tens particle diameters). We explain the very existence and the value of the critical wavelength λcrit% 100 m of the fine structure in a local version of kinetic stability theory. It is shown that there is a dominant Fourier mode of maximum instability of Jeans-type collective oscillations in Saturns rings, and the associated number of spiral arms and the pitch angle. It appears very likely that some of the observed microstructures in Saturns A and B rings both axisymmetric and nonaxisymmetric ones …

publication date

  • September 1, 2009