Collisional Disruption of Natural Satellites

  • Paolo Farinella
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 505)


The evidence indicating that many natural satellites have been disrupted by energetic impacts during the history of the solar system is briefly reviewed. Several satellites over a wide size range show giant craters close to the threshold for catastrophic breakup. Many small moons have very irregular shapes, suggesting that they are fragments from larger precursor bodies. Ejecta from the fragmentation of satellites in many cases may stay in planetocentric orbits, forming ring systems, reaccumulating into newly-born satellites or surviving thanks to dynamical protection mechanisms. In one satellite breakup case, that of Hyperion, the fall of a massive fragment shower onto Titan may have generated or substantially changed the composition of its dense atmosphere.


Giant Planet Parent Body Natural Satellite Planetary Ring Irregular Satellite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Farinella
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di MatematicaUniversità di PisaPisaItalia

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