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Latest Rings of Saturn Stories

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2006-10-12 00:00:00

Cassini scientists are on the trail of the missing moons of Saturn. A recent observation by the spacecraft leads them to believe that they will find the moons near newly discovered rings around the planet. During an unprecedented opportunity, with the sun poised behind Saturn, Cassini scientists discovered two new rings and confirmed the presence of two others. The new rings are associated with one or more small moons and share their orbits with the moons, while scientists suspect a moon is...

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2006-09-19 19:02:59

Saturn sports a new ring in an image taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Sunday, Sept. 17, during a one-of-a-kind observation. Other spectacular sights captured by Cassini's cameras include wispy fingers of icy material stretching out tens of thousands of kilometers from the active moon, Enceladus, and a cameo color appearance by planet Earth. The images were obtained during the longest solar occultation of Cassini's four-year mission. During a solar occultation, the sun passes directly...

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2006-07-07 09:30:00

Atomic oxygen could never be confused with expensive perfume. But just as a fragrance lingering in the air of an empty room offers hints about a previous occupant, the cloud of oxygen the Cassini spacecraft encountered as it first approached Saturn turned out to be a calling card from another celestial presence, the tiny moon Enceladus. The oxygen was the first clue that much more is going on beneath Enceladus' icy surface than it first appeared. It took a while for scientists to get the...

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2006-07-06 17:23:45

NASA Cassini spacecraft images of Saturn's diaphanous G and E rings are yielding new clues about their structure and formation. A sequence of recent Cassini images, which has been made into a brief movie, shows an arc of bright material looping around the inside edge of the G ring, a tenuous 7,000-kilometer-wide (4,400 miles) band of dust-sized icy particles lying beyond the F ring by 27,000 kilometers (16,800 miles). Cassini passed between the F and G rings during its insertion into orbit...

2006-04-06 12:02:07

Views of Saturn's stunning ring system from above by the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft now orbiting the planet indicate the prominent A ring contains more debris than once thought, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study. Previous observations with the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s found the ring was more transparent, indicating less material, said Joshua Colwell of CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. But new calculations based on May 2005...

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2006-03-29 17:17:22

Scientists with NASA's Cassini mission have found evidence that a new class of small moonlets resides within Saturn's rings. There may be as many as 10 million of these objects within one of Saturn's rings alone. The moonlets' existence could help answer the question of whether Saturn's rings were formed through the break-up of a larger body or are the remnants of the disk of material from which Saturn and its moons formed. "These moonlets are likely to be chunks of the ancient body whose...

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2005-12-22 16:10:00

NASA -- To the surprise of astronomers, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed a pair of new rings around the distant planet Uranus. The largest is twice the diameter of the planet's previously known rings. The new rings are so far away that they are being called Uranus's "second ring system." In addition, Hubble has spied two small satellites, one sharing its orbit with one of the newly discovered rings. Even more surprisingly, precise analysis of the data reveals that the orbits of...

2005-12-06 17:25:00

WASHINGTON -- One of Saturn's moons is spraying icy particles into space from the area around its south pole, a sure sign of geologic activity, NASA reported on Tuesday. Recent images captured by the Cassini spacecraft reveal what looks at first like the narrow crescent shape of a solar eclipse, with plumes of particles being ejected from the Saturn moon Enceladus. "For planetary explorers like us, there is little that can compare to the sighting of activity on another solar system body,"...

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2005-11-10 17:50:00

By watching a distant star as it passed behind Saturn's outer rings, Cornell University astronomers on NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn have found the most direct evidence to date of patterns, called gravitational wakes, within the planet's outer rings. The patterns, thin, parallel striations like spokes on a pinwheel, have been theorized since the 1970s, but their small scale (just 100 meters -- 328 feet -- wide) makes them impossible to see even with the spacecraft's...

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2005-10-27 08:20:00

PPARC -- Images of Saturn's narrow and contorted F ring returned by cameras onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed phenomena not previously detected in any planetary ring. The findings are reported in Nature (27th October 2005). The F ring is notorious for exhibiting unusual structures, like "knots," "kinks," and "clumps" that continue to puzzle astronomers.  However, Cassini images have shown that the gravitational effect of the inner shepherding satellite, Prometheus, appears...


Latest Rings of Saturn Reference Libraries

6_01f3c2cab5cf417ad24ef2a3539cb89c2
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...

4_e9d175f90d0b5ef2871efa0f6af24f302
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...

4_868ee3ee75d373f925a938985b316c762
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;...

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