BEACON TRANSCRIPT – New data streams provided by Cassini revealed that Saturn’s B Ring are not as dense as previously thoughts. By measuring the rate of opacity, the scientists working on the project have determined that Saturn’s rings are thinner than anticipated.
As the laws of physics dictate, the denser a field is the more transparent it is, meaning that a dense field is opaque by design. Well, it would seem that the giant ring-bearing planet managed to elude the laws of physics somehow.
According to recent observations, it would seem that Saturn’s B ring, dubbed in the past as the largest and the most opaque rings orbiting Saturn, is in fact pretty thin and very young. The team of scientists has arrived at this conclusion after studying the latest images send by Cassini, who’s orbiting Saturn since 2004.
In order to understand how baffling this new development is, Phil Nicholson, a scientist from the Cornell University working with the space probe, made a little analogy. The scientists said that even though a pool of water is denser and it contains more water, it will be more transparent that a foggy meadow.
Using this analogy and data collected from the study of the spiral density wave, the scientists managed to piece together a vague image of Saturn’s rings. This method implies the study of the ring’s particles movement. Subjected to Saturn’s gravitation forces, the movement of these particles can reveal the origin and why the rings are so thin.
So far, the scientists have indeed confirm that the B ring is much thinner, but they can’t say for sure the reason why this happens.
Although the actual phenomenon cannot be explained, NASA has managed to learn additional facts about the origin of Saturn’s rings. According to their observation, the rings around Saturn have formed over a period of many billion years when space objects, such as comets, asteroids and even small planets got caught in Saturn’s gravitational field.
A new study revealed that Saturn’s rings are thinner than anticipated, and the reason still eludes the scientists. Moreover, it seems that the team in charge of the project managed to determine that Saturn’s B ring is much younger than previously thought.
Using the composite infrared spectrometer found on board the space probe, the scientists used a combination of visible and infrared light to ascertain the age of Saturn’s largest ring. According to their initial results, it would seem that the B ring is several million years old, making it the youngest planetary object found inside our Solar System.