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How do the small planetary satellites rotate?

  • Alexander V. Melnikov (a1) and Ivan I. Shevchenko (a1)

Abstract

We investigate the problem of the typical rotation states of the small planetary satellites from the viewpoint of the dynamical stability of their rotation. We show that the majority of the discovered satellites with unknown rotation periods cannot rotate synchronously, because no stable synchronous 1:1 spin-orbit state exists for them. They rotate either much faster than synchronously (those tidally unevolved) or, what is much less probable, chaotically (tidally evolved objects or captured slow rotators).

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References

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How do the small planetary satellites rotate?

  • Alexander V. Melnikov (a1) and Ivan I. Shevchenko (a1)

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