Horsing around on saturn

Robert J. Vanderbei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


On the basis of simple statistical mechanical models, the prevailing view of the rings of Saturn is that they are unstable and must therefore have been formed rather recently. In this paper, we argue that the Saturn rings and inner moons are in much more stable orbits than previously thought and, therefore, that they likely formed together as part of the initial formation of the solar system. To make this argument, we give a detailed description of socalled horseshoe orbits and show that this horseshoeing phenomenon greatly stabilizes the rings of Saturn. This paper is part of a collaborative effort with E. Belbruno and J.R. Gott III. For a description of their part of the work, see their papers in these proceedings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-345
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • History and Philosophy of Science


  • Horseshoe orbits
  • Saturn


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