How Saturn’s rings were made

All About Space - - Results From Cassini -

Idea 1: Shat­tered moon­lets

One the­ory is that the rings formed when comet im­pacts broke up one or more small moon­lets or­bit­ing in­side Saturn’s Roche limit.

Idea 2: Lu­nar break-up

Al­ter­na­tively, a larger moon may have been pushed in­side the Roche limit where tidal forces even­tu­ally tore it apart.

Var­ied rings

Over a long pe­riod, col­li­sions and tidal forces spread the de­bris evenly around the planet and be­gan to draw smaller par­ti­cles closer to the planet.

Tidal gaps

Gaps in the rings de­vel­oped where or­bit­ing par­ti­cles would ex­pe­ri­ence reg­u­lar tidal pulls from more dis­tant or­bit­ing moons.

Comet en­rich­ment

Stud­ies of ring rain par­ti­cles sug­gest that the rel­a­tively pure ice has been en­riched with more com­plex chem­i­cals, per­haps from comet ices.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.