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View Full Version : Discussion: X-Rays Sparkle in Saturn's Rings



Fraser
2005-Jun-28, 04:17 PM
SUMMARY: Even in X-rays, Saturn is beautiful. The latest image taken by NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory shows how the rings sparkle in this wavelength. These X-rays are created by solar X-rays striking the ice particles in Saturn's rings, and being refracted towards the Earth. Astronomers aren't exactly sure why these flashes are happening, but one theory is that they're caused by micrometeorites striking through Saturn's rings and causing a brief puff of ice particles which can cause a more irregular scattering of X-rays from the Sun.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/xrays_sparkle_saturn.html)

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lswinford
2005-Jun-28, 06:52 PM
Back in the Mercury and Gemini capsule days, there was a convenient little discussion for us school kids of that day, describing things like pressure and materials and temperatures and radiation in space. One thing that I recall was a description of radiation insulation, that if the capsules were simply metal, like aluminum, then the radiation striking it would turn the capsule into an x-ray machine, something obviously not healthy for astronauts. So that got me thinking in this case. On earth, some of the softer metals are (perhaps I should say were) found naturally in beautiful crystaline form. I've seen copper, gold, and silver in museum displays that stick out in my mind. What if we have metal flakes in Saturn's rings, something akin to a placer gold lensing of a streambed on earth? Cosmic rays, etc., striking the metal and kicking off x-rays for Chandra to notice, perhaps?

Nick4
2005-Jul-26, 03:29 AM
The meteorites that make up the rings might be coverd in reflective ice and pe reflecting sun light to make it seem like it is sparkleing.

Nereid
2005-Jul-27, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by Nick4@Jul 26 2005, 03:29 AM
The meteorites that make up the rings might be coverd in reflective ice and pe reflecting sun light to make it seem like it is sparkleing.
Except that the dust to metre-sized objects that make up the rings certainly can't (and don't) 'reflect' the X-rays that the Sun emits!

As well, no doubt, the X-ray spectra of the 'sparkling rings' will be quite different from the corresponding spectra that space-based observatories such as YOHKOH detect.