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Cassini Sees New Objects Blazing Trails in Saturn Ring

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posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 08:09 PM

Queen Mary scientists working with images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have discovered strange half-mile-sized objects punching through parts of Saturn's F ring, leaving glittering trails behind them. These trails in the rings, which scientists are calling 'mini-jets', fill in a missing link in our understanding of the curious behavior of the F ring. The results were presented April 24 at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, Austria.

The small objects appear to collide with the F ring at gentle speeds -- something on the order of about 4 mph (2 meters per second). The collisions drag glittering ice particles out of the F ring with them, leaving a trail 20 to 110 miles (40 to 180 kilometers) long. Professor Murray commented: "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. These findings show us that the F ring region is like a bustling zoo of objects from a half mile to moons like Prometheus a hundred miles in size, creating a spectacular show," he added.

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


Oh look somebody is already out there mining.
I know that the imaging team was able to allow Cassini to pass several times through the plumes at Enceladus after they were discovered by Cassini itself, in fact it will take its deepest plunge yet into the plumes on May 2nd. I wonder if they will allow Cassini to catch us some more close up images of these newly discovered strange objects.

here is a nice video I have just found of the objects in question as well as more images here

edit on 4/24/2012 by iforget because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 10:16 PM
Here is an earlier thread I missed with my search apologies to the OP there:

posted on Apr, 25 2012 @ 06:27 PM
Please direct your comments to this previous thread




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