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Raptor1967
2004-Jul-02, 05:05 PM
Have a look at this pic



http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/multimedia/conf0701-pia06099.html


Are they really rippled like that or is that a lighting effect ??

Cylinder
2004-Jul-02, 05:16 PM
Those rippled structures are called spiral waves, if I followed Dr. Porco's narration correctly. They are regular changes in the ring material's density caused by perturbation by moons in a nearby orbit. I think of it as the moon and Saturn's little tug-of-war with that portion of the ring, though any definitive explanation should be left to someone more versed in this subject than me.

[Added] Actually, I think spiral waves affect wave height (or amplitude) as well as density.