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Three-Body Resonances in the Saturnian System

Presentation #403.05 in the session Resonant Dynamics and Consequences, Plus Disks!.

Published onApr 25, 2022
Three-Body Resonances in the Saturnian System

Saturn has a dynamically rich satellite system, which includes at least three orbital resonances between three pairs of moons: Mimas-Tethys 4:2, Enceladus-Dione 2:1, and Titan-Hyperion 4:3 mean-motion resonances. Studies of the orbital history of Saturn’s moons usually assume that their past dynamics was also dominated solely by two-body resonances. Using direct numerical integrations, we find that three-body resonances among Saturnian satellites were quite common in the past, and could result in a relatively long-term, but finite capture time (10 Myr or longer). We find that these three-body resonances are invariably of the eccentricity type, and do not appear to affect the moons’ inclinations. While some three-body resonances are located close to two-body resonances (but involve the orbital precession of the third body), others are isolated, with no two-body arguments being near resonance. We conclude that future studies of the system’s past must take full account of three-body resonances, which have been overlooked in the past work.


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