Using Cassini CIRS Data to Constrain Enceladus' Libration State


Given the non-spherical shape of Enceladus, the satellite may experience gravitational torques that will cause it to physically librate as it orbits Saturn. Physical libration would produce a diurnal oscillation in the longitude of Enceladus' tidal bulge, which could have a profound effect on the diurnal stresses experienced by the surface of the satellite. Although Cassini ISS has placed an observational upper limit on Enceladus' libration amplitude, small amplitude librations may have geologically significant consequences. For example, a physical libration will affect heat production along the tiger stripes as produced by tidal shear heating. We have modeled the expected power emitted along the tiger stripes for various types of physical libration and have quantified which types of physical libration best reproduce the observed power f1ux as detailed in Cassini CIRS data. We find that including a physical libration does allow better fits to the observations and we have identified regions of the libration phase space that where these fits are optimized. A physical libration has important implications for tidal dissipation within Ence1adus and if identified may provide an additional constraint on its interior mass distribution

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NASA Technical Reports Server

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This paper was published in NASA Technical Reports Server.

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