The moon and the planets

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 43–62

Formation of the regular satellite systems and rings of the major planets

  • A. J. R. Prentice
  • D. Ter Haar

DOI: 10.1007/BF00897054

Cite this article as:
Prentice, A.J.R. & Haar, D.T. The Moon and the Planets (1979) 21: 43. doi:10.1007/BF00897054


In this paper, we apply the ideas presented by one of us (Prentice, 1978a, b) for the development of the proto-solar cloud into a system of Laplacian rings to the development of the protoplanetary clouds which ultimately led to Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. We show that if one accepts this scenario — especially the idea of supersonic turbulence in the proto-planetary clouds — one can satisfactorily explain, on the basis of fixing a single adjustable parameter, both the geometric precession of the orbital radii of the regular satellite systems of these three planets and the chemical composition and mass distribution of these satellites. We suggest that thermal stirring in the proto-planetary cloud in the vicinity of the surface of the planet may be responsible for the smaller masses of some of the inner satellites as well as for the formation of the rocky rings of Uranus. The icy rings of Saturn are suggested to be the product of condensation processes in a continuous gaseous disc within the Roche limit of the planet.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. R. Prentice
    • 1
  • D. Ter Haar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Theoretical PhysicsUniversity of OxfordEngland

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