The hydrostatic equilibrium of multi-layer bodies lacks a satisfactory theoretical treatment despite its wide range of applicability.
Here we show that by using the exact analytical potential of homogeneous ellipsoids we can obtain recursive analytical solutions and an exact numerical method for the hydrostatic equilibrium shape problem of multi-layer planets and synchronous moons. The recursive solutions rely on the series expansion of the potential in terms of the polar and equatorial shape eccentricities, while the numerical method uses the exact potential expression.
These solutions can be used to infer the interior structure of planets and synchronous moons from the observed shape, rotation, and gravity. When applied to dwarf planet Ceres, we show that it is most likely a differentiated body with an icy crust of equatorial thickness 30-90 km and a rocky core of density 2.4-3.1 g/cm 3 . For synchronous moons, we show that the J2/C22≃10/3 and the (b−c)/(a−c)≃1/4 ratios have significant corrections of order Ω 2/(πGρ), with important implications on how their gravitational coefficients are determined from flyby radio science data and on how we assess their hydrostatic equilibrium state.
Pasquale Tricarico (Submitted on 28 Dec 2013)
Comments: 12 pages, 6 figures, accepted in ApJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1312.7427 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1312.7427v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history From: Pasquale Tricarico [v1] Sat, 28 Dec 2013 12:16:35 GMT (200kb)
Please follow Astrobiology on Twitter.