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New Results on the Dynamical History of the Saturnian Satellite System

Presentation #203.02 in the session Planets and Satellites Dynamics (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
New Results on the Dynamical History of the Saturnian Satellite System

The observations of Saturn’s moon system suggest that the current understanding of the moons’ orbital dynamics is inconsistent with the tidal equilibrium theory. The migration of each moon is significantly influenced by gravitational perturbations arising from pairs of mean motion resonances (MMRs) between the moons. These MMRs serve as a crucial factor in the orbital dynamics, exerting a notable impact on the overall migration process. We numerically investigated two pairs of MMRs (Mimas-Tethys 4:2 and Enceladus-Dione 2:1), we found that Mimas high eccentricity predated these two resonances and that Mimas-Enceladus 3:2 resonance likely did not happen. Our investigation suggests that three-body resonances within Mimas-Dione 3:1 MMR (involving Titan as a third body sometime in the past) observed in the Saturnian satellite system primarily manifest as eccentricity resonances, with no significant influence on the moons’ inclinations. The presence of three-body resonances could hold the potential to shed light on several unresolved aspects of the system, such as the relatively high eccentricity of Mimas (around 0.02) and the evolutionary path of Enceladus and Dione as they transitioned through numerous sub-resonances to reach their current configuration. Understanding the dynamical history of Enceladus’s orbit is vital for a comprehensive comprehension of its tidal heating and geological activity, unraveling the mysteries surrounding its past and nature.

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