Dr Phil Sutton speaks at Gravity Fields about Saturn’s rings

On Wednesday 26th September Dr. Phil Sutton gave a short talk titled “Gravity in Saturn’s Rings” at the Gravityfields, the home place of Isaac Newton (Woolsthorpe Manor).


The “Night at the Manor” event was an opportunity to enjoy the Manor after hours with night time tours and hear interesting science talks on a range of topics on the importance of Newton’s contributions to computational physics, the Sun, tights, particle physics and the language of science.

The talk about gravity in Saturn’s rings looked at how many of the 60+ moons in orbit around Saturn play a role in sculpting the rings in various ways. The rings are gravitationally distorted as the moons move in and around the rings creating gaps, density waves and vertical structures.


Annual Robert Grosseteste Lecture in Astrophysics

Distinguished Maths & Physics Public Lectures

Photo: New Brunswick Tourism

Tides: From the Bay of Fundy to Black Holes

a public lecture by

Professor Don Kurtz

Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

Friday, 28 September 2018,

6:00-7:20 pm

Newton Lecture Theatre  INB0114 in the Isaac Newton building, University of Lincoln

Book a place

Tides are mysterious. Why are there two tides per day? What causes Spring and Neap tides? What are Earth tides? Tides on other bodies in the solar system can lead to moons disintegrating – this is where the rings of Saturn come from. Stars have tides and there are now the amazing, new tidal “Heartbeat Stars”. Tides from some black holes would tear a person apart, so don’t get too close! This richly illustrated lecture looks at tides from the Earth to colliding Galaxies.

Don Kurtz was born in San Diego, California, to an American father and Canadian mother…

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Maths & Physics at Lincoln: EDT Headstart residential course

Charlotte Scott Centre for Algebra

The University of Lincoln has hosted a EDT Headstart  residential, where thirty students in Year 12 from all over the country have stayed from 8th to 11th July to get an introduction to university life at Lincoln, to visit the facilities of our campus, but especially to experience several lectures and workshops in Mathematics and Physics. Two afternoon sessions devoted to academic tasters were held by the School of Mathematics and Physics, and coordinated by Dr Sandro Mattarei. On 9th and 10th July the students enjoyed the following sessions:

  • Group Theory: algebra of transformations – A lecture given by Dr Simon SmithSimon
  • Pascal’s triangle and modular arithmetic – A lecture given by Dr Sandro MattareiSandro
  • followed by a computer demonstration led by Dr Bart VorselaarsBart
  • Patterns in nature: mathematical views of the natural world – A lecture given by Dr Danilo Roccatano
  • What is Chaos? – A lecture given by Dr…

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New paper published on Saturn’s rings

A new paper has been published in MNRAS (Monthly Notices of the Astronomical Society) by Dr Phil Sutton titled On the tidal environment of an outwardly migrating F ring“. 

paper cover.png

The paper used computer models of Saturn’s unique narrow ring, the F ring, to investigate interactions with nearby moon Prometheus. Below is an image taken by the Cassini spacecraft of Prometheus as it creates structures (streamer-channels) in the F ring by gravitational perturbations.


Planetary rings, like Saturn’s, are know to be astronomically short lived. In time the rings accrete into moons and disappear. Since the F ring liess at the edge of the main rings and close the Roche limit (the distance at which an object can exist to a planet before gravitational tides completely pull it apart) it is important for the formation of moons. Planetary rings are also known to spread outwards. If the F ring does migrate outwards the gravitational tides from Saturn reduce which can have impact on Prometheus induced density fluctuations, which were proved to drive the formation of smaller moonlets. Computer models looked at the structures formed by Prometheus as the F ring is moed outwards into lower tidal environments.

F ring paper

It was discovered that the F ring became more favourable to forming clumps and moonlets as it moved outwards. Prometheus also had a more significant effect on the ring and structures (streamer-channels) increased in size.

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