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Astron. Astrophys. 320, 319-324 (1997)

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Simulation of collisions in planetary rings

Jan-Martin Hertzsch 1, Hans Scholl 2, Frank Spahn 1 and Ines Katzorke 1

1 Arbeitsgruppe ,,Nichtlineare Dynamik", Universität Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais, PF 60 15 53, D-14415 Potsdam, Germany
2 Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Dept. C. G. Cassini, B.P. 229, F-06304 Nice, France

Received 20 June 1996 / Accepted 25 September 1996


We investigate the evolution of structures in planetary rings in the neighbourhood of the orbit of an embedded moonlet (small satellite). The effects of collisions have been taken into account by introducing the velocity dependent restitution coefficient according to experimental and theoretical results. Here we present results of recent many-particle simulations which show a significant influence of the interparticle collisions on the formation and persistence of wake structures in a model ring. In contrary to the collision-free model, a stationary, non-mirrorsymmetric wake pattern with decreasing intensity in azimuthal direction is observed. The azimuthal damping rate of the wake intensity is estimated from the data obtained in the simulation.

Key words: planets and satellites: general; Saturn

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: July 3, 1998