Ring Seismology of the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune

Joseph A. A’Hearn, Matthew M. Hedman, Christopher R. Mankovich, Hima Aramona, Mark S. Marley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We assess the prospect of using ring seismology to probe the interiors of the ice giants Uranus and Neptune. We do this by calculating normal-mode spectra for different interior models of Uranus and Neptune using the stellar oscillation code GYRE. These spectra provide predictions of where in these planets’ ring systems the effects of interior oscillations might be detected. We find that f-mode resonances with azimuthal order m = 2 or 7 ≼ m ≼ 19 fall among the inner rings (6, 5, 4, α, and β) of Uranus, while f-mode resonances with 2 ≼ m ≼ 12 fall in the tenuous ζ ring region. In addition, f-mode resonances with m = 2 or 6 ≼ m ≼ 13 may give azimuthal structure to Neptune’s tenuous Galle ring. We also find that g-mode resonances may fall in the middle to outer rings of these planets. Although an orbiter is most likely required to confirm the association between any waves in the rings and planetary normal modes, the diversity of normal-mode spectra implies that identification of just one or two modes in the rings of Uranus or Neptune would eliminate a variety of interior models and thus aid in the interpretation of Voyager observations and future spacecraft measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number194
JournalPlanetary Science Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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