Rotation of a rigid satellite with a fluid component. A new light onto Titan's obliquity [EPA]

We revisit the rotation dynamics of a rigid satellite with either a liquid core or a global sub-surface ocean. In both problems, the flow of the fluid component is assumed inviscid. The study of a hollow satellite with a liquid core is based on the Poincare-Hough model which provides exact equations of motion. We introduce an approximation when the ellipticity of the cavity is low. This simplification allows to model both types of satellite in the same manner. The analysis of their rotation is done in a non-canonical Hamiltonian formalism closely related to Poincare’s “forme nouvelle des equations de la mecanique”. In the case of a satellite with a global ocean, we obtain a seven-degree of freedom system. Six of them account for the motion of the two rigid components, and the last one is associated with the fluid layer. We apply our model to Titan for which the origin of the obliquity is still a debated question. We show that the observed value is compatible with Titan slightly departing from the hydrostatic equilibrium and being in a Cassini equilibrium state.

Read this paper on arXiv…

G. Boue, N. Rambaux and A. Richard
Fri, 15 Sep 17

Comments: 39 pages, 6 figures, accepted in CeMDA