Planetary rings are among the most intriguing structures of our solar system and have fascinated generations of astronomers. Collating emerging knowledge in the field, this volume reviews our current understanding of ring systems with reference to the rings of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and more. Written by leading experts, the history of ring research and the basics of ring-particle orbits is followed by a review of the known planetary ring systems. All aspects of ring system science are described in detail, including specific dynamical processes, types of structures, thermal properties and their origins, and investigations using computer simulations and laboratory experiments. The concluding chapters discuss the prospects of future missions to planetary rings, the ways in which ring science informs and is informed by the study of other astrophysical disks, and a perspective on the field's future. Researchers of all levels will benefit from this thorough and engaging presentation.
Matthew S. Tiscareno is a Senior Research Scientist at the SETI Institute, California. He is a Participating Scientist and an Imaging Team Associate with the Cassini-Huygens mission. His research output includes solar system dynamics and space-based observations of the outer solar system. Carl D. Murray is a Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. He has contributed to numerous ring and moon discoveries as an original member of the Imaging Team with the Cassini-Huygens mission and he is co-author of the textbook, Solar System Dynamics (2010).