Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Saturn Is Losing Its Rings at 'Worst-Case-Scenario' Rate

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute, public domain.

Joel Kontinen

New NASA research confirms that Saturn is losing its iconic rings at the maximum rate estimated from Voyager 1 & 2 observations made decades ago. The rings are being pulled into Saturn by gravity as a dusty rain of ice particles under the influence of Saturn's magnetic field.

“From this alone, the entire ring system will be gone in 300 million years, but add to this the Cassini-spacecraft measured ring-material detected falling into Saturn's equator, and the rings have less than 100 million years to live. This is relatively short, compared to Saturn's age of over 4 billion years." says James O'Donoghue of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He is the lead author of a study on Saturn's ring rain appearing in Icarus December 17.

This is not the first time researchers think that Saturn’s rings are young or that Saturn looks young.

Now, who says the rings have existed for only “100 million years.” Even exoplanets such as HL Tau are young, and they might say that the whole universe is young.

On our good earth, radiocarbon refute the dogma of millions of years.


NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. 2018. Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate. Science Daily. (17 December).