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“Scientists have never seen objects actually form before,” planetary scientist Carl Murray of Queen Mary, University of London said in a press release. “We now have direct evidence of that process and the rowdy dance between the moons and bits of space debris.” Murray presented the findings July 20 at the Committee on Space Research meeting in Bremen, Germany, and they appeared in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters on July 14.
The images, taken over six years of observations, show an F ring that never looks the same twice. The ring is flanked by two small “shepherd” moons, Prometheus and Pandora, which are thought to herd bits of ice and dust into the ring and give it its bow-like shape.
The new observations show that Prometheus — ironically named for the Greek figure who stole fire from the gods and brought it to mortals — is primarily responsible for building miles-wide snowballs in the ring. The potato-shaped moon, which is about 92 miles across, flies around Saturn at an orbit just outside the slower-moving F ring.
The moon laps the same spot on the ring every 68 days. The repeated tugs from the moon’s gravity slosh the particles around in a pattern of increasing complexity, letting particles build up and clump together (see animation above).
The largest of these objects are 12 miles across, and could be about as dense as Prometheus itself — about one-fourteenth the density of Earth. The objects are large enough to hold themselves together with self-gravity, and grow by pulling other particles to themselves.
Originally posted by spikey
reply to post by anon72
Thanks for posting.
But...'fan like gaps' in the ring, does suggest something is there disrupting it.
It could be a 12 mile wide, clumpy snowball...or it could be a gargantuan ship, as imaged and of which photo's are available..the same ships that have been reported on in detail, with slides shown and examined, on the Denmark Exopolitics lecture.
They're appear to be assuming it's conglomerated ice particles..although of course, it very well may be exactly what they think it might be.
A strange coincidence with all the talk of massive ships parked off Saturn, and around Sol.