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Mysterious Objects Tear Through Saturn's 'Weird' F Ring

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  • uploaded: Sep 20, 2013
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Mysterious objects have been wreaking havoc on what scientists refer to as Saturn's "weirdest ring." NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured images of Saturn that show strange half-mile-sized objects punching through parts of Saturn's F ring, leaving a glittering trail in its path. Carl Murray, a Cassini imaging team member, says this is significant because the F ring is more dynamic than they imagined. Scientists already know the profound effect Saturn's moon, Prometheus, has on the F ring, creating channels, ripples, and snowballs... but now objects, around half a mile wide to the size of a small moon, are breaking away, colliding with the F ring, at gentle speeds, dragging glittering ice particles out of the F ring with them. Scientists are now calling these trails "mini jets." The Cassini imaging team had to comb through 20,000 images of the F ring, taken over the past 7 years Cassini has been at Saturn, and found 500 examples of these "mini jets." The F ring, which is the outermost of Saturn's main rings, is known as Saturn's 'weirdest ring' because it is ever changing, constantly leaving new images for the Cassini team to analyze.



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