A Primordial Origin of the Laplace Relation Among the Galilean Satellites

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Science  18 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5593, pp. 593-597
DOI: 10.1126/science.1076557

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Understanding the origin of the orbital resonances of the Galilean satellites of Jupiter will constrain the longevity of the extensive volcanism on Io, may explain a liquid ocean on Europa, and may guide studies of the dissipative properties of stars and Jupiter-like planets. The differential migration of the newly formed Galilean satellites due to interactions with a circumjovian disk can lead to the primordial formation of the Laplace relation n 1– 3n 2 + 2n 3 = 0, where the ni are the mean orbital angular velocities of Io, Europa, and Ganymede, respectively. This contrasts with the formation of the resonances by differential expansion of the orbits from tidal torques from Jupiter.

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