Origin of Saturn’s F Ring and Its Shepherd Satellites Revealed


HYODO Ryuki, a second-year student in the Doctoral Program, and Professor OHTSUKI Keiji of the Graduate School of Science at Kobe University have revealed that Saturn’s F ring and its shepherd satellites are natural outcome of the final stage of formation of Saturn’s satellite system. Their finding has been published online in Nature Geoscience on August 17.

Please visit "Press Release from Kobe University (Aug 19, 2015): Origin of Saturn’s F Ring and Its Shepherd Satellites Revealed"for details of this research.


Figure 3: Simulation of a Collision between Two Satellites (Present Study). In this simulation, two satellites with dense cores collide at the current location of the F ring. The collision does not destroy the cores, which become two shepherd satellites, and the dispersed particles distributed in between the two satellites form the F ring (The original version of this figure is from the paper published in Nature Geoscience).

[Research Paper]

Journal: Nature Geoscience
Title: Saturn's F ring and shepherd satellites a natural outcome of satellite system formation.
Authors: HYODO Ryuki and OHTSUKI Keiji (Kobe University)
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2508


GRAPE-DR, one of the GRAPE (GRAvity PipE) series, was used in this research. GRAPE is a special-purpose supercomputer operated by CfCA/NAOJ and enables a high-speed computation of gravitational interactions between particles. The peak performances of GRAPE-DR are 1.6 Tflops in single precision and 0.8 Tflops in double precision. In addition to its high performance, GRAPE-DR has superior ability in power efficiency. In June 2010, a GRAPE-DR system developed by NAOJ and the University of Tokyo got a first prize in the Little Green500 list.

[Related links]

- Department of Planetology, Graduate School of Science / Faculty of Science, Kobe University