View Full Version : Saturn's Ring Spokes May Return

2006-Mar-22, 05:22 AM
SUMMARY: When Voyager first visited Saturn 26 years ago, it returned photographs of unusual spokelike structures in the rings. The Hubble Space Telescope confirmed the spokes in the 1990s, but then they faded out. It's believed that the spokes are caused when electrically charged particles collect above the surface of the rings, scattering light from the Sun differently than the rings themselves. Scientists think they might be due to return around July this year, as they depend on the ring's angle towards the Sun, which is now decreasing.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/saturn_spokes_reappear.html)
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Ray Smith
2006-Mar-22, 07:07 AM
It is heartning to see the spokes return, if that is indeed what is going to happen. Over A decade ago I checked out a rather large volume from the local university, a lengthy data and formula filled nasa compilation of Saturns facts, in an attempt to research the possibility that loose quarkonium might be found near the spokes. A decade prior I had consturcted the milikan apparatus in a high school advanced physics class for the purpose of verifying the charge of a paticular quark..maybe it was 1/137ths that of an electron, but I do not recall. Anyway the stark simularity of the milikan apparatus and the levitating spokes suggested a very large charged surface on the rings and the veritable straightness (unlike the curved semiarc feature normal calculations would predict) means there is something more at work here than simple photoelectrics (interaction of photons and electrons). It had been suggested in the then contempory digests (science et all) that the spokes may perhaps even discharge into the Saturanian atomosphere!! What I find compelling, in light of the fact that our present leadership has diverted so much scientific funding to military efforts, is that this may be a very, very good natural particle accelerator with much to be gleaned via simple observation!! As an example, if the particles are indeed charged and are in fact being hurtled toward the planets exosphere what could the total possible electron mass be when it strikes a particle in the exosphere? Any suggestions as to what possible feynmann diagrams might explain the resultant? Not that I expect to find the Higgs particle there but I, for one, expect more than just gamma and x-rays to be produced...that is if they are actually dischargeing into the atomosphere. In any event I am still puzzled as to why the spokes do not assume a more chiral pattern...like all those paintings of primordial matter being sucked into a protoplanet. Surely gravity would be pulling the particles towards the planet and the planets spin would effect proportional delta on the spread of the particles...I cannot fathom an electrostatic mechanism that would both lift the particles above the ring and at the same time keep them in a straight line...the only thing I can suggest is that the particles are being propelled towards the planet...and if so...are there any particles being propelled away from the planet in the same plane as the spokes....better yet, is there another unseen reaction happening below the rings?