Chancia, R., Hedman, M. (2016). "Persistent pattern speeds in Saturn's D ring" American Astronomical Society, DDA meeting #47, id.#401.03.


Abstract
Saturn's D ring is the innermost part of Saturn's ring system. Due to its close proximity to the planet, it is sensitive to perturbing forces caused by asymmetries in Saturn's interior and magnetic field. Using high-phase-angle images obtained by the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) over the course of the entire Cassini mission we investigate the region between 71000-73000 km from Saturn's center. Previous studies have shown that this region contains azimuthal brightness variations generated by periodic perturbing forces with frequencies close to Saturn's rotation rate (nearly twice the local orbital period). These structures are not due to a single resonance, but instead involve a complex network of patterns drifting past one another over time. Some of these could be caused by asymmetries in Saturn's magnetosphere, which have rotation rates that have been observed to change over the course of the Cassini mission. However, some patterns may be generated by perturbations from long-lived gravitational anomalies inside the planet that move at speeds comparable to Saturn's winds. By comparing observations taken over several years we can distinguish the patterns caused by each phenomenon. We identify multiple structures with nearly constant pattern speeds that would appear to be due to persistent structures inside the planet. Strangely, the rotation rates required to produce these D ring structures are different from those responsible for generating waves in the C ring (where the local orbital rate is roughly 3/2 Saturn's rotation rate).