Origin of Regular Satellites

Conference paper
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (ASIC, volume 85)


The regular satellites of Jupiter and Saturn are generally believed to have accreted within cooling circumplanetary nebulae. Small silicate bodies are lost into the planet by gas drag before ice can condense. Larger silicate protosatellites survive by exerting tidal torques on the gas, clearing low-density “tunnels” around their orbits. The nebula is thus divided into series of gas rings depleted in silicates. Cooling eventually allows ice condensation, yielding another generation of icy bodies. Collisional accretion of these objects accounts for stochastic density variations of Saturn’s inner satellites. High dynamic pressure may have prevented accretion in the inner part of the Jovian nebula; J5 may be an ablated remnant of a larger body.


Central Plane Solar Nebula Regular Satellite Galilean Satellite Ablate Remnant 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Planetary Science InstituteTucsonUSA

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