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The truth about the formation of Saturn’s rings: a celestial accident billions of years ago (picture)

The truth about the formation of Saturn’s rings: a celestial accident billions of years ago (picture)
The truth about the formation of Saturn’s rings: a celestial accident billions of years ago (picture)

Scientists have discovered a plausible explanation for the formation of Saturn’s rings. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

SaturnhaveEight planetsnumber onesatelliteand has the most prominent planetary rings ofSaturn’s rings, and there are many arguments for its formation. Recently, scientists have found the truth of the formation, which must be traced back to the time point of 160 million years ago, when a celestial accident with an incomparable macroscopic occurred.

Saturn has the largest number of satellites

“Saturn” is a member of the eight planets in the solar system. It has the most prominent planetary rings among the planets in the solar system, and with 83 satellites, it sits on the throne with the largest number of satellites among the eight planets.

Saturn’s rings are mainly composed of icy particles and a relatively small amount of rocky debris and dust, ranging in size from micrometers to meters, orbiting Saturn like a tight orbit. The first description of Saturn’s rings around Saturn in modern history was by Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens, who was also a physicist and mathematician. Huygens proposed it in AD 1655, and in the same year discovered the largest “Titan” of Saturn’s moons, Titan.

On the scale of clusters, there are many empty spaces between Saturn’s rings. Two of the gaps are caused by the orbital resonance of the satellites buried in the rings, which in turn cause fluctuations. The rest are yet to be studied by scientists, and people continue to Study the reasons for the formation and evolution of Saturn’s rings.

The truth about Saturn’s rings

Recently, a team of researchers studied the data collected by NASA’s flagship space probe “Cassini-Huygens” during its Saturn mission, led by MIT planetary science professor Jack J. Weston.

At first, Professor Weston and his team wanted to explain why Saturn’s axis is tilted at 27 degrees. According to the original theoretical model, it may be caused by the influence of Neptune’s gravitational resonance. Later, they collected data from the “Cassini-Huygens” orbiting Saturn between 2004 and 2017 AD, and found that from a certain At the beginning of the time point, Saturn has been freed from the influence of Neptune.

The new discovery led the research team to immediately look for new factors to explain it, and later came to an argument that could reasonably explain the formation of Saturn’s rings.

satellites that once existedchrysalis

Professor Weston and others believe that the cause of Saturn’s tilt may be related to a moon that once existed. They say Saturn had no rings for nearly 4.5 billion years, until an event 160 million years ago.

At that time, a satellite “Chrysalis” was too close to Saturn, and then it was pulled by Saturn’s gravity, and finally torn into a large number of debris, forming Saturn’s rings around Saturn. Professor Weston said: “Like the ‘pupa’ of a butterfly, the long-dormant satellite ’emerges into a fairy’ in a blink of an eye, and the ‘ring’ appears.”

The existence of the moon, called chrysalis, can not only explain the current inclination of Saturn’s axis and the causes of Saturn’s rings, but also match the chemical properties of the rings. Confirmation of this novel argument is still pending, but Professor Weston believes: “We offer a very convincing case.”


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The article is in Chinese

Tags: truth formation Saturns rings celestial accident billions years picture

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