Effects of differential rotation on the gravitational figures of Jupiter and Saturn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is assumed that observed zonal currents in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn correspond to a state of permanent rotation, and that the angular velocity is constant on cylindrical surfaces parallel to the rotation axis. The equation of hydrostatic equilibrium for a rotating planet is solved under these restrictive assumptions, and the effect of the hypothesized rotation state on the planet's gravity harmonics and external shape is investigated. Spacecraft data on zonal currents are used to derive nearly model-independent corrections to the first four zonal gravity harmonic coefficients, which can be used to correct observed gravity harmonics to values appropriate for solid-body rotation. If the assumed rotation state is applicable, then zonal currents lead to measurable topography of isopycnic surfaces with respect to the reference fihure defined by the magnetospheric rotation period and the gravity harmonics. The amplitude of the topography is on the order of 5 km for Jupiter and 60 km for Saturn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-515
Number of pages7
JournalIcarus
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1982

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Saturn
Jupiter (planet)
Jupiter
gravity
gravitation
harmonics
planet
planets
topography
hydrostatics
angular velocity
effect
spacecraft
atmosphere
atmospheres
coefficients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Effects of differential rotation on the gravitational figures of Jupiter and Saturn. / Hubbard, William B.

In: Icarus, Vol. 52, No. 3, 1982, p. 509-515.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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