Chaotic dynamics of satellite systems

A. V. Mel'nikov, I. I. Shevchenko

Research output


We consider the problem of calculating the Lyapunov time (the characteristic time of predictable dynamics) of chaotic motion in the vicinity of separatrices of orbital resonances in satellite systems. The primary objects of study are the chaotic regimes that have occurred in the history of the orbital dynamics of the second and fifth Uranian satellites (Umbriel and Miranda) and the first and third Saturnian satellites (Mimas and Tethys). We study the dynamics in the vicinity of separatrices of the resonance multiplets corresponding to the 3 : 1 commensurability of mean motions of Miranda and Umbriel and the multiplets corresponding to the 2 : 1 commensurability of mean motions of Mimas and Tethys. These chaotic regimes have most probably contributed much to the long-term orbital evolution of the two satellite systems. The equations of motion have been numerically integrated to estimate the Lyapunov time in models corresponding to various epochs of the system evolution. Analytical estimates of the Lyapunov time have been obtained by a method (Shevchenko, 2002) based on the separatrix map theory. The analytical estimates have been compared to estimates obtained by direct numerical integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-332
Number of pages11
JournalSolar System Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005


Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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