ASIAA Summer Students Program
ASIAA Summer Student Program 2022
July 1 - August 31

2022 Project Description

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Modelling of resonantly excited nonlinear wave trains in Saturn's rings.
This project can be carried out remotely.

Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
Planetary Rings
Satellite-Disk Interactions
Theoretical Astrophysics


Marius Lehmann
Find out more about supervisors on ASIAA website

Task Description and Goals

Saturn's rings constitute one of the most spectacular structures in our solar system. In particular, Saturn's main rings exhibit a vast amount of fine structure, including gaps, ringlets, and waves, on various length scales ranging from roughly 1000km down to some 100m. Due to their proximity and consequent accessibility by space craft, Saturn's rings can serve as a "local laboratory" to study processes -- such as accretion and disc-satellite interactions -- that are also at work in proto-planetary discs. This project focuses on spiral density waves which are resonantly excited at so called Lindblad resonance locations in Saturn's "A" and "B" rings, generated by the co-orbital pair of moons "Janus" and "Epimetheus". These density waves are particularly intriguing, as the two moons that excite them swap their orbits roughly every 4 years. This causes the corresponding resonance locations to jump as well, leading to complex interactions of the resulting wave patterns that are still not fully understood. The goal of this project is to study the nonlinear evolution of these density waves. To this end hydrodynamic simulations will be carried out using the method of Lehmann et al. (2019). At the same time the student will evaluate and visualize data from existing simulations and will compare the results with observational data on these density waves. Of particular interest is a comparison with the results of Hedman & Nicholson (2016). Results of this project will potentially be included in a publication.

Required Background

Basic physics and mathematics. Basic programming/visualization skills. Good English communication skills. Experience with programming in FORTRAN and IDL would be advantageous.

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