Warm Saturns: warped ring systems?

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Warm Saturns: warped ring systems?

Post by Lazarus on 21st April 2011, 1:59 pm

Here's a paper about whether ring systems can exist around inner-system giant planets.

Warm Saturns: On the Nature of Rings around Extrasolar Planets that Reside Inside the Ice Line

Because these planets are close to the star, the rings would be made of rocky material which would lead to more compact ring systems due to the higher density. Some of the close-in planets may have warped ring systems, with the inner part of the rings aligned with the planet's equator and the outer part aligned with the orbital motion.
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Re: Warm Saturns: warped ring systems?

Post by Lazarus on 29th June 2011, 6:00 pm

Another neat point about this is that for habitable gas giants, the Laplace radius could be within the range of orbital distances of the satellite system. E.g. for Jupiter at 1 AU around a solar-mass star, the Laplace radius would be roughly between the orbital distances of Europa and Ganymede.

Outer moons would therefore be better aligned with the planet's orbit than the planet's equator (similar to our own moon), and therefore if the planet has significant obliquity and had a ring system you'd get a good view of the rings from the moon. On the other hand you wouldn't have seasons unless the planet's orbit is substantially eccentric.
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Re: Warm Saturns: warped ring systems?

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 29th June 2011, 11:10 pm

I haven't heard of the Laplace radius. Could you shed some light on the dynamics behind it?

(minor side note, I've been in the process of moving so I will not be able to give this forum as much attention as I would like for perhaps a couple days)

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Re: Warm Saturns: warped ring systems?

Post by Lazarus on 30th June 2011, 3:01 pm

Laplace radius is where the quadrupole potential from the planet's equatorial bulge equals the quadrupole potential from the star.

So objects closer to the planet than the Laplace radius tend to be aligned to the planetary equator, objects further away tend to be aligned to the stellar orbit.
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