F Ring Glitches

Today’s Cassini image shows the effect of a 60-mile moon on Saturn’s F-Ring. The science guys at the Cassini site describe it for you:

When Prometheus comes close to the F ring in its orbit, the moon’s gravity tugs on the ring particles. The disturbed particles, now pulled into orbits slightly closer to Saturn and therefore faster, shear out during successive orbits, creating the long and delicate streamers seen here.

This kind of stuff is well within Newtonian celestial mechanics, but it was never imagined before space probes started poking their noses around the planets.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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