Tidal/Rotational Distortion and Interior Modeling from Shape and Gravity

Wed, February 10, 2016

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Synchronous satellites experience both rotational flattening and permanent tidal elongation, the magnitudes of which carry information about the deep internal structure. For icy satellites like Enceladus, additional shape and gravity anomalies can arise from variations in the thickness of the icy crust. Using a self-consistency argument, we separate the observed shape and gravity anomalies in such a way that we can draw conclusions about both the deep internal structure and the properties of the icy crust. We conclude that Enceladus likely has a low density silicate core surrounded by an H2O mantle consisting of a weak ice shell overlying a global subsurface liquid ocean.