View Full Version : Discussion: Density Waves in Saturn's Rings

2004-Nov-10, 07:32 PM
SUMMARY: Researchers have used the Cassini spacecraft to make observations of Saturn's rings with tremendous clarity, resolving images down to the size of a football field. A team from the University of Colorado at Boulder have used a technique called "stellar occultation" to look through the rings at a distant star, and then watch how the ring particles obscure it. The ring material bunches up into denser areas, with gaps between them as small as 50 metres (160 feet). This is unusual, because they should be spreading out in the vacuum of space - this means that small objects, like moons, are stirring up the material in the rings like ripples in a pond.

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2004-Nov-11, 03:10 AM

2004-Nov-18, 01:29 AM
Some questions and comments on the phenomenon of Saturn's and other planets' rings ...

Has there been a definite source established for the origin of Saturn's rings? Some estimates of the age of the rings are anywhere between 10 - 100 million years, certainly less than 1 billion years. But are they the result of a moon getting too close to the Roche limit, or that of a Marsoid deflecting off Saturn as what is believed to have happened on Earth? Ibid for the other gas planets with rings.

If the latter case, then with regards to the news article, would Earth have had rings at one time while the moon was re-forming, and would there have been "Shephard Moonlet" activity albeit on a smaller scale? (perhaps a greater scale if the comparitive relative mass of the moon is greater than Saturn's Rings)