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Strange Objects seen Blazing Trails in Saturnís Ring

Scientific Computing ^ | 4/26/12

Posted on 04/26/2012 11:53:20 AM PDT by null and void


This set of six images obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows trails that were dragged out from Saturn's F ring by objects about a half mile (1 kilometer) in diameter. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/QMUL

Scientists working with images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have discovered strange, half-mile-sized objects punching through one of Saturn's rings and leaving glittering trails behind them. The results were presented at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, Austria. The penetration occurred in the outermost of Saturn's main rings, called the F ring, which has a circumference of 550,000 miles (881,000 kilometers). Scientists are calling the trails "mini-jets." Cassini scientists combed through 20,000 images and found 500 examples of these rogues during the seven years Cassini has been at Saturn.

"Beyond just showing us the strange beauty of the F ring, Cassini's studies of this ring help us understand the activity that occurs when solar systems evolve out of dusty disks that are similar to, but obviously much grander than, the disk we see around Saturn," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA.

Scientists have known relatively large objects can create channels, ripples and snowballs, or clumps of icy material, in the F ring. However, did not know what happened to these snowballs after they were created. Some were broken up by collisions or tidal forces in their orbit around Saturn. Scientists now have evidence some of the smaller ones survived, and their differing orbits mean they go on to strike through the F ring on their own.

"I think the F ring is Saturn's weirdest ring, and these latest Cassini results go to show how the F ring is even more dynamic than we ever thought," said Carl Murray, a Cassini imaging team member based at Queen Mary University of London, U.K. "These findings show us that the F ring region is like a bustling zoo of objects from a half-mile (0.8-kilometer) in size to moons like Prometheus a hundred miles (160.9 kilometers) in size, creating a spectacular show."

These small objects appear to collide with the F ring at gentle speeds of about 4 mph (2 meters per second). The collisions drag glittering ice particles out of the F ring with them, leaving a trail of 20 to 110 miles (40 to 180 kilometers) long.

In some cases, the objects traveled in packs, creating mini-jets that looked exotic, like the barb of a harpoon. Other new images show grand views of the entire F ring and the swirls and eddies from the different kinds of objects moving through and around it.

Saturn's rings are comprised primarily of water ice. The chunks of ice that make up the main rings spread out 85,000 miles (140,000 kilometers) from the center of Saturn. Scientists believe the rings' average thickness is approximately 30 feet (10 meters).

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, CO.

New images and movies of the mini-jets are available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/whycassini/cassini20120423.html 


TOPICS: Government; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: cassini; huygens; motherships; saturn; titan

1 posted on 04/26/2012 11:53:26 AM PDT by null and void
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To: null and void

let me guess ,this guy combs his hair with a electric fan


2 posted on 04/26/2012 11:55:52 AM PDT by molson209
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To: null and void

ping


3 posted on 04/26/2012 11:57:17 AM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: null and void

“I think the F ring is Saturn’s weirdest ring,”

You haven’t seen stuff out of Uranus yet.


4 posted on 04/26/2012 11:59:01 AM PDT by max americana
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To: null and void

Oh great. Alien invasions ALWAYS start like this. I hate it.


5 posted on 04/26/2012 12:00:06 PM PDT by Martin Tell (ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it)
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To: molson209

His Hair is genetic, here is a picture of his uncle.

6 posted on 04/26/2012 12:01:47 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: Martin Tell

Cheer up, they are apt to be better than Obama...


7 posted on 04/26/2012 12:02:51 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1192 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: null and void

They’re just making a Pit Stop, on the 300th lap. Nothing to worry about.


8 posted on 04/26/2012 12:02:55 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Martin Tell

Read the fantastic book “Footfall” by Niven and Pournelle.

Aliens stop by Saturn to refuel before dropping into the solar system, and leave their imprint in the rings.


9 posted on 04/26/2012 12:12:30 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: null and void

Perfect use of that graphic. Absolutely perfect.


10 posted on 04/26/2012 12:13:11 PM PDT by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: max americana
You haven’t seen stuff out of Uranus yet.

I hear asteroids on Uranus can cause a blazing trail.
11 posted on 04/26/2012 12:22:50 PM PDT by crosshairs (As long as there is evil, "Coexist" is impossible.)
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To: GraceG

Zathras knows answer but Zathras not tell.


12 posted on 04/26/2012 12:31:24 PM PDT by Zathras
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To: SJSAMPLE

I’ll have to give it a try. I recenlty completed “Fallen Angels” by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn after reading Instapundit flog it for a long time. Wonderful send up of global warming and anti-science enviros.


13 posted on 04/26/2012 12:37:07 PM PDT by Martin Tell (ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it)
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To: Zathras

[ Zathras knows answer but Zathras not tell. ]

Wouldn’t matter if Zathras tell, Nobody ever listen to poor Zathras!


14 posted on 04/26/2012 12:38:30 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: molson209
let me guess, this guy combs his hair with a electric fan

I would have guessed explosives...

15 posted on 04/26/2012 12:41:52 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1192 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: null and void

16 posted on 04/26/2012 12:55:33 PM PDT by 6ppc (It's torch and pitchfork time)
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To: Martin Tell
I recenlty completed “Fallen Angels” by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn

You need to read Footfall. Starts out with anomolies in Saturn's rings. This thread is deja vu all over again.

17 posted on 04/26/2012 12:58:15 PM PDT by 6ppc (It's torch and pitchfork time)
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To: null and void

The motherships are on the move.

18 posted on 04/26/2012 1:42:19 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: SJSAMPLE
Aliens stop by Saturn to refuel before dropping into the solar system, and leave their imprint in the rings.

Just what I was thinking and yes I have read "Footfall" a few times.

19 posted on 04/26/2012 1:47:14 PM PDT by razorback-bert (Some days it's not worth chewing through the straps.)
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To: null and void
I think it's this guy, out for a solar system stroll...


20 posted on 04/26/2012 1:48:55 PM PDT by SparkyBass
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To: null and void
Remember, they always do everything in threes.

-PJ

21 posted on 04/26/2012 1:49:19 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (If you can vote for President, then your children can run for President.)
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To: smokingfrog

Hale-Bopp redux?


22 posted on 04/26/2012 3:01:22 PM PDT by Martin Tell (ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it)
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To: null and void

IT would seem to me that they have found the ‘method’ of planetary creation. The secret of a body in space growing in size is not of having such gravity that it pulls in material from a great distance.

It is bumping into the material slowly, allowing it’s weak gravity to pull that material ‘in’, and of course having a rich ‘vein’ of material to feed on.


23 posted on 04/26/2012 4:07:11 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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24 posted on 04/26/2012 5:04:52 PM PDT by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: Political Junkie Too

Arthur Clarke’s “Rama” type alien craft came in “threes”. Usually refuel from sun; perhaps photo opp?


25 posted on 04/26/2012 9:12:54 PM PDT by Ozark Tom
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