Tags: saturn | moons | rings | study

Saturn Moons Keep Rings in Place, Study Reveals

Saturn Moons Keep Rings in Place, Study Reveals
(NASA)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 October 2017 10:30 AM

Saturn's moons work together to keep the planet’s rings in place, according to new research based on data from NASA’s Cassini mission.

The discovery was revealed at the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in Provo, Utah, New Scientist noted.

Theoretically, if forces were not in place to confine Saturn’s rings, they would spread out over millions of years. Take Saturn’s B ring for example.

Without gravitational forces from the nearby Mimas moon, icy particles from the inside ring would spill out of the edges and eventually the ring would broaden to the point that it disperses completely.

Mima’s gravitational nudges keep the ring trimmed by pushing any wayward particles back inside.

Scientists previously thought this was the case for Saturn’s A ring as well, with the small moon Janus confining the outer edge.

However, according to a news release by NASA, the A ring's outward creep is kept in check by a confederation of moons, including Pan, Atlas, Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, Epimetheus and Mimas.

This was established in a new modeling study led by Radwan Tajeddine of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

High-resolution views were obtained from Cassini, a 13 year exploratory mission to Saturn, which was conducted in an effort to study the planet’s dramatic rings and its icy moons.

The mission concluded when the Cassini spacecraft went out in a blaze while sinking into Saturn's atmosphere in September.

Commenting on their findings, Tajeddine said nobody imagined that the rings were held by a shared responsibility.

"The density waves created by moons are beautiful to look at, but they actually participate in confining the ring," he said, per Science Daily.

"Janus has been getting all of the credit for stopping the A ring, which has been unfair to the other moons."

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Saturn's moons work together to keep the planet's rings in place, according to new research based on data from NASA's Cassini mission.
saturn, moons, rings, study
298
2017-30-18
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 10:30 AM
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