Status Report

Orbits and resonances of the regular moons of Neptune

By SpaceRef Editor
November 1, 2019
Filed under ,

Marina Brozović, Mark R. Showalter, Robert A. Jacobson, Robert S. French, Jack J. Lissauer, Imke de Pater

(Submitted on 30 Oct 2019 (v1), last revised 31 Oct 2019 (this version, v2))

We report integrated orbital fits for the inner regular moons of Neptune based on the most complete astrometric data set to date, with observations from Earth-based telescopes, Voyager 2, and the Hubble Space Telescope covering 1981-2016. We summarize the results in terms of state vectors, mean orbital elements, and orbital uncertainties. The estimated masses of the two innermost moons, Naiad and Thalassa, are GMNaiad= 0.0080 ± 0.0043 km3s−2 and GMThalassa=0.0236 ± 0.0064 km3s−2, corresponding to densities of 0.80 ± 0.48 gcm−3 and 1.23 ± 0.43 gcm−3, respectively. Our analysis shows that Naiad and Thalassa are locked in an unusual type of orbital resonance. The resonant argument 73 λ˙Thalassa-69 λ˙Naiad-4 Ω˙Naiad ≈ 0 librates around 180 deg with an average amplitude of ~66 deg and a period of ~1.9 years for the nominal set of masses. This is the first fourth-order resonance discovered between the moons of the outer planets. More high precision astrometry is needed to better constrain the masses of Naiad and Thalassa, and consequently, the amplitude and the period of libration. We also report on a 13:11 near-resonance of Hippocamp and Proteus, which may lead to a mass estimate of Proteus provided that there are future observations of Hippocamp. Our fit yielded a value for Neptune’s oblateness coefficient of J2=3409.1±2.9 ×10−6.

Comments: Accepted in Icarus, October 1, 2019

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2019.113462

Cite as: arXiv:1910.13612 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1910.13612v2 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Marina Brozovic 

[v1] Wed, 30 Oct 2019 01:17:01 UTC (2,713 KB)

[v2] Thu, 31 Oct 2019 03:58:12 UTC (2,711 KB)

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