Latest Rings of Saturn Stories

2008-05-01 00:00:00

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Scientists from the University of Maryland and the Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany appear to have solved a long-standing mystery about the cause of anomalies in Jupiter's gossamer rings. In a new study published in the May 1 issue of Nature, they report that a faint extension of the outermost ring beyond the orbit of Jupiter's moon Thebe, and other observed deviations from an accepted model of ring formation, result from the interplay of shadow...

2008-04-29 15:45:00

PASADENA, Calif. "“ As a powerful electrical storm rages on Saturn with lightning bolts 10,000 times more powerful than those found on Earth, the Cassini spacecraft continues its five-month watch over the dramatic events. Scientists with NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission have been tracking the visibly bright, lightning-generating storm--the longest continually observed electrical storm ever monitored by Cassini. Saturn's electrical storms resemble terrestrial thunderstorms, but on a much...

2008-03-18 18:05:00

Saturn: jewel of the solar system, taker of breaths, ringed beauty. Even veteran astronomers can't help but gasp when they see her through a small telescope. Red Alert: Saturn's rings are vanishing. Around the world, amateur astronomers have noticed the change; Saturn's wide open rings are rapidly narrowing into a thin line. "The rings have narrowed considerably in the last year," Efrain Morales Rivera reports. "The Cassini division (a dark gap in the rings) is getting hard to see."...

2008-03-06 14:45:00

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found evidence of material orbiting Rhea, Saturn's second largest moon. This is the first time rings may have been found around a moon. A broad debris disk and at least one ring appear to have been detected by a suite of six instruments on Cassini specifically designed to study the atmospheres and particles around Saturn and its moons. "Until now, only planets were known to have rings, but now Rhea seems to have some family ties to its...

2008-02-19 12:17:27

Gaps in the soup of high energy particles near the orbits of two of Saturn's tiny moons indicate that Saturn may be surrounded by undiscovered, near-invisible partial rings. A paper in the February issue of the journal Icarus suggests the larger Saturnian moons may not be the only ones contributing material to Saturn's ring system. A team of scientists has detected two peculiar breaks in the near-constant rain of high energy electrons that bombard Cassini when near Saturn. They made the...

2008-02-01 07:10:00

Order can be found in the most unexpected places, as demonstrated by our neighbor three planets down. Two of Saturn's rings have been found by NASA's Cassini spacecraft to contain orderly lines of densely grouped, boulder-size icy particles that extend outward across the rings like ripples from a rock dropped in a calm pond. "Imagine going to a town that stretches from San Francisco to Los Angeles and seeing buildings spaced the same distance apart on every block," said Cassini radio science...

2007-12-12 21:55:00

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - New observations by NASA's Cassini spacecraft indicate the rings of Saturn, once thought to have formed during the age of the dinosaurs, instead may have been created roughly 4.5 billion years ago, when the solar system was still under construction. Larry Esposito, principal investigator for Cassini's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said data from NASA's Voyager spacecraft in the 1970s, and later from NASA's Hubble Space...

2007-12-06 16:20:57

Imaging scientists on NASA's Cassini mission are telling a tale of how the small moons orbiting near the outer rings of Saturn came to be. The moons began as leftover shards from larger bodies that broke apart and filled out their "figures" with the debris that made the rings. It has long been suspected that Saturn's rings formed in the disintegration of one or several large icy bodies, perhaps pre-existing moons, by giant impacts. The resulting debris quickly spread and settled into the...

2007-10-24 15:38:11

A narrow belt harboring moonlets as large as football stadiums discovered in Saturn's outermost ring probably resulted when a larger moon was shattered by a wayward asteroid or comet eons ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study. Images taken by a camera onboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft revealed a series of eight propeller-shaped "wakes" in a thin belt of the outermost "A" ring, indicating the presence of corresponding moonlets, said CU-Boulder Research Associate...

2007-08-02 18:30:00

PASADENA, Calif. - Cassini scientists may have identified the source of one of Saturn's more mysterious rings. Saturn's G ring likely is produced by relatively large, icy particles that reside within a bright arc on the ring's inner edge. The particles are confined within the arc by gravitational effects from Saturn's moon Mimas. Micrometeoroids collide with the particles, releasing smaller, dust-sized particles that brighten the arc. The plasma in the giant planet's magnetic field sweeps...

Latest Rings of Saturn Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Planetary Ring -- A planetary ring is a ring of dust and other small particles orbiting around a planet in a flat disc-shaped region. The most spectacular and famous planetary rings are those around Saturn, but all four of the solar system's gas giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) possess ring systems of their own. The origin of planetary rings is not precisely known, but they are thought to be unstable and dissipate over the course of tens or hundreds of millions of...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Prometheus -- Prometheus [pra-MEE-thee-us] is the third of Saturn's known satellites. It was discovered from photographs taken by Voyager during its encounter with Saturn by S. Collins and others. Prometheus acts as a shepherd satellite for the inner edge of Saturn's F Ring. The moon is extremely elongated about 145 by 85 by 62 kilometers (90 by 53 by 39 miles) in diameter. It has a number of ridges and valleys on its northern side. Several craters about 20...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Pan -- Pan, the innermost known satellite, was found from photographs taken by Voyager during its encounter with Saturn. It was discovered by Mark R. Showalter in 1990, 9 years after the Voyager encounter. Pan is located 133,583 kilometers from the center of Saturn and is within the Encke Gap of Saturn's A-ring. It acts as a shepherd and is responsible for keeping the Encke gap open. It has a diameter of 20 kilometers. ----- Discovered by: Mark R. Showalter;...

More Articles (3 articles) »
Word of the Day
  • An evil spirit; a devil.
  • A nightmare.
  • In astrology, the twelfth house of a scheme or figure of the heavens: so called from its signifying dreadful things, such as secret enemies, great losses, imprisonment, etc.
'Cacodemon' comes from a Greek term meaning 'evil genius.'