Date of Award
Thesis open access
In this work, we report on the use of a local cell N-body simulation method to model density waves in Saturn's A-ring. Specifically, we focus on waves excited at the 31-30 Inner Lindblad Resonance with Prometheus. We find that the local cell qualitatively matches larger cells in the formation process but is able to run more quickly and at higher resolution. The density waves that form in the local cell return theoretical surface density predictions (σ0 = 46.51 g/cm2) within 4% of the parameter value of 45.0 g/cm2. Additional simulations run without particle self-gravity do not result in the formation of density waves, confirming that the waves are not a product of the cell or boundary conditions used. In the sudden absence of the moon, our simulations suggest that a fully formed density wave decays almost completely on the timescale of 1-2 years. However, a region of higher density appears to persist just outside the resonance location. Finally, by decreasing particle radius from 8.4m to 2.6m we were able to observe the formation of straw between wave peaks. Photometric renderings of these simulations show qualitative agreement with Cassini images.
Holt, Keaton, "Numerical Simulations of Density Waves in Saturn’s A-Ring" (2021). Physics & Astronomy Honors Theses. 14.