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Saturns rings
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In the coming months, the rings of Saturn will be increasingly thin, so ultimately the September 4, 2009.  On that occasion Saturn was found some distance from our planet, so the observation will be complicated. The times in which the rings disappear are ideal for tracking satellites, in fact, thirteen of the many moons of the planet have been discovered in these conditions.  During the crossing of May 22 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope discovered four probable new satellites around Saturn.
Currently, Saturn can be seen during the second half of the night and morning twilight in the east in the constellation Leo. Crossings by the plane of the rings occur only every 15 years or so, after 2009 will have to wait until March 23 2025 to return to enjoy this phenomenon.
The paper has been accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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RE: Saturn Rings
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Why are Saturn's rings so spectacular? It could be that the planet managed to cling onto a moon when all the other gas giants in our solar system had already lost theirs. Today's rings formed when the moon was smashed up.
Sebastien Charnoz and colleagues at the University of Diderot, Paris, suggest it was during the "late heavy bombardment", 700 million years after Saturn formed, that a chunk of debris collided with one of the planet's moons. Because the moon was orbiting at just the right distance from Saturn when it shattered - within the so-called Roche limit - the tiny pieces formed the rings instead of dispersing.

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-- Edited by Blobrana at 01:13, 2008-10-13

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Saturn's rings far older than thought
Saturn's rings are more massive and far older than previously thought, astronomers reported on Tuesday.
The estimate is made by a University of Colorado team, harnessing a powerful computer model and using data from the US spaceprobe Cassini in orbit around the beringed giant.
The team computed gravitational forces and collisions in a sample of more than 100,000 icy particles in one of Saturn's rings.


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Saturn's rings
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Saturn's rings are more massive and far older than previously thought, astronomers reported on Tuesday.
The estimate is made by a University of Colorado team, harnessing a powerful computer model and using data from the US spaceprobe Cassini in orbit around the beringed giant.
The team computed gravitational forces and collisions in a sample of more than 100,000 icy particles in one of Saturn's rings.

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RE: Saturn Rings
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PIA10472.jpg
Expand (18kb, 1016 x 867)
Credit:    NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

This image of a bright arc of material in Saturn's G ring was taken in visible light by the Cassini spacecraft on Aug. 22, 2008, when it was approximately 1.2 million kilometres  from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 13 degrees.
The ring arc orbits Saturn along the inner edge of the G ring.
 Image scale is 7 kilometres  per pixel in the radial, or outward-from-Saturn, direction.

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This image of Saturn's F ring was taken by the Cassini spaceprobe on Aug. 20, 2008, when it was approximately 685,000 kilometres from Saturn and at a Sun-ring-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 40 degrees.
The three finger-like jets of material seen suggest that a small object has collided with the core of Saturn's F ring.
The embedded objects could be temporary clumps of particles, but scientists think at least one of the objects could be a more permanent moonlet.

30152907.762498.jpg
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Image scale is about 5 kilometers per pixel.

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This image of Saturn was taken by the Cassini spaceprobe on August 08, 2008, when it was approximately 1,195,224 kilometres away.
The image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.

th_sataug808.jpg
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Credit NASA/JPL

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A team of scientists led from the UK has discovered that the rapid changes in Saturn's F ring can be attributed to small moonlets causing perturbations. Their results are reported in Nature (5th June 2008).
Saturn's F ring has long been of interest to scientists as its features change on timescales from hours to years and it is probably the only location in the solar system where large scale collisions happen on a daily basis. Understanding these processes helps scientists understand the early stages of planet formation.

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-- Edited by Blobrana at 22:45, 2008-06-05

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This image of Saturns Rings showing the Maxwell Gap, was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 29, 2008. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometres from Saturn. Image scale at the centre of the scene is about 7 kilometers per pixel in the radial, or outward from Saturn, direction.

maxwellgap1
Expand (159kb, 1024 x 768)
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Prometheus can be seen at the bottom of this image

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Order can be found in the most unexpected places, as demonstrated by our neighbour 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. All of these groups of particles within the rings are very close together, and the space between them is extremely small, only 100 to 250 metres (320 feet to 820 feet) wide, depending on where they are in the ring"  - Cassini radio science team member Essam Marouf,  San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif.

Normally, the distances between particles change with their velocity. In the case of Saturn's rings, the distances between these ring particles stay relatively equal even though their velocities may change. This type of pattern is completely new.

"This particular feature is the smallest and most detailed of anything seen in Saturn's rings so far. In the chaotic environment of the rings, to find such regularity in the most cramped areas is nothing short of amazing" - Essam Marouf.

The regular structure can only be found in locations where particles are densely packed together, such as the B ring and the innermost part of the A ring.
The unexpected pattern within Saturn's rings may give scientists some new ideas of what to expect from other similar planets and solar systems.

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