The Titan -1:0 Nodal Bending Wave in Saturn's Ring C

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Science  05 Aug 1988:
Vol. 241, Issue 4866, pp. 690-694
DOI: 10.1126/science.241.4866.690


The most prominent oscillatory feature observed in the Voyager 1 radio occultation of Saturn's rings is identified as a one-armed spiral bending wave excited by Titan's -1:0 nodal inner vertical resonance. Ring partides in a bending wave move in coherently inclined orbits, warping the local mean plane of the rings. The Titan -1:0 wave is the only known bending wave that propagates outward, away from Saturn, and the only spiral wave yet observed in which the wave pattern rotates opposite to the orbital direction of the ring particles. It is also the first bending wave identified in ring C. Modeling the observed feature with existing bending wave theory gives a surface mass density of ∼0.4 g/cm2 outside the wave region and a local ring thickness of [unknown]5 meters, and suggests that surface mass density is not constant in the wave region.