Expression of Cassini's third law for Callisto and theory of its rotation

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    The rotation of the main natural satellites of the Solar System is widely assumed to be synchronous, because this corresponds to an equilibrium state. In the case of the Moon, 3 laws have been formulated by Cassini, assuming a spin-orbit resonance and a 1:1 nodal resonance. The recent gravitational data collected by the spacecrafts Galileo (in the jovian system) and Cassini (in the saturnian system) allows us to study the rotation of other natural satellites, and to check the universality of Cassini's laws. This paper deals with the rotation of the Galilean satellites of Jupiter J-4 Callisto. In this study we use both analytical (like Lie transforms) and numerical methods (numerical detection of chaos, numerical integration, frequency analysis) to first check the reliability of Cassini Laws for Callisto, and then to give a first theory of its rotation, Callisto's being considered as a rigid body. We first show that the Third Cassini Law (i.e. the nodal resonance), is not satisfied in every reference frame, in particular in the most natural one (i.e. the J2000 jovian equator). The difference of the nodes presents a chaotic-like behavior, that we prove to be just a geometrical illusion. Moreover, we give a mathematical condition ruling the choice of an inertial reference frame in which the Third Cassini Law is fulfilled. Secondly, we give a theory of Callisto's rotation in the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF). We highlight a small motion (i.e.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)225-239
    Number of pages15
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Callisto; Celestial mechanics; Resonances
    • spin-orbit; Rotational dynamics

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