Predator-Prey Models to Explain Saturn Ring Textures

LASP Science Seminars

Predator-Prey Models to Explain Saturn Ring Textures

Larry Esposito (CU/LASP)
September 5, 2019
4:00 PM MT/MDT

We use a simple dynamic model for the balance between accretion and disruption to explain the variety of textures seen in Saturn’s rings by the Cassini mission. The textures seen in Saturn’s Rings by Cassini can be explained by variations in the nature of embedded structures in the rings, including boulders, transient and driven self-gravity wakes. The highest spatial resolution observations of Saturn’s rings show a variety of textures (clumpy, streaky, straw… see Tiscareno et al in Science 2019). Because numerical simulations cannot yet capture all the relevant physics, the multiple spatial scales or the asymptotic behavior at long time scales, we apply a simpler model of a predator-prey system. Textures seen in the highest resolution Cassini ring images may arise from the same processes that give rise to self-gravity wakes, gaps and ghosts in the Cassini UVIS occultations. We model these non-linear dynamics with an ecological analogy.

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