Constraints on Mimas' interior from Cassini ISS libration measurements

R. Tajeddine, N. Rambaux, V. Lainey, S. Charnoz, A. Richard, A. Rivoldini, B. Noyelles

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    Like our Moon, the majority of the solar system's satellites are locked in a 1:1 spin-orbit resonance; on average, these satellites show the same face toward the planet at a constant rotation rate equal to the satellite's orbital rate. In addition to the uniform rotational motion, physical librations (oscillations about an equilibrium) also occur. The librations may contain signatures of the satellite's internal properties. Using stereophotogrammetry on Cassini Image Science Subsystem (ISS) images, we measured longitudinal physical forced librations of Saturn's moon Mimas. Our measurements confirm all the libration amplitudes calculated from the orbital dynamics, with one exception. This amplitude depends mainly on Mimas' internal structure and has an observed value of twice the predicted one, assuming hydrostatic equilibrium. After considering various possible interior models of Mimas, we argue that the satellite has either a large nonhydrostatic interior, or a hydrostatic one with an internal ocean beneath a thick icy shell.

    langue originaleAnglais
    Pages (de - à)322-324
    Nombre de pages3
    Numéro de publication6207
    Les DOIs
    Etat de la publicationPublié - 17 oct. 2014

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