View Full Version : Saturn moons creating new rings....

Dr Mordrid
12th October 2006, 17:53
This has to be one of the coolest space images yet;

Saturn seen by Cassini. Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI


Full resolution images @ JPL.... (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA08329)

Saturn’s Moons Could be Creating New Rings

October 11th, 2006

When Cassini passed directly behind Saturn, the Ringed Planet obscured the Sun, and gave the spacecraft a unique view of the delicate ring structure. These observations have shown scientists that the planet’s moon system is probably generating new rings. These moons are pounded by micrometeorites over time, but they don’t have the gravity to hang onto the material. Over time, this material floats away from the moons and collects into the diffuse rings we see today.

Cassini scientists are on the trail of the missing moons of Saturn. A recent observation by the spacecraft leads them to believe that they will find the moons near newly discovered rings around the planet.

During an unprecedented opportunity, with the sun poised behind Saturn, Cassini scientists discovered two new rings and confirmed the presence of two others. The new rings are associated with one or more small moons and share their orbits with the moons, while scientists suspect a moon is lurking near a third ring.

“Just like the old maxim that says where there’s smoke, there’s fire, at Saturn, where there’s a new ring, there’s bound to be a moon,” said Dr. Jeff Cuzzi, Cassini interdisciplinary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Under the cover of Saturn’s shadow in mid-September, the entire ring system became visible, and never-before-seen microscopic particles began to appear. A single, faint new ring at the orbits of two moonlets, Janus and Epimetheus, was discovered. A second ring was found a week later. It is narrow and overlies the orbit of the tiny moon Pallene, which Cassini discovered back in 2004. A third and fourth ring are visible in the Cassini Division, the big gap in Saturn’s main ring system. Curiously, these rings were not seen in images from NASA’s Voyager spacecraft.

Cassini spent nearly 12 hours in Saturn’s shadow on Sept. 15, 2006, making observations like this one.

14th October 2006, 02:52
Wow. GREAT picture. Thanks Doc :up:

14th October 2006, 09:11
Next they will try to find some arbitrary barrier between what is a "moon" and what is space debris.

Dr Mordrid
14th October 2006, 11:49
Really. Some of the newer Jovian & Satunian 'moons' are about big enough to mark a Beverly Hills driveway :p