After 100 million years, Saturn will “eat” almost all of their rings

After 100 million years, Saturn will “eat” almost all of their rings

The clouds of Saturn’s icy rain whips of the rings. The ice flow left a dark band in the stratosphere.

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Scientists from the space flight Center name Goddard NASA came to the conclusion that from the inner rings of Saturn the planet is freezing rain. Will not work and a hundred million years, as nothing from them will remain.

The researchers used data from three sources — pictures taken from “Voyagers” apparatus “Cassini” telescope of the Keck, in Hawaii.

Pictures from Voyager showed that in the atmosphere of Saturn, in his mid-latitudes, there are dark stripes that encircle the planet. Data about the magnetic field of the gas giant were correlated with these photos — the field lines entering the atmosphere there, where the dark stripes.

After examining the results of the observations of the Keck Observatory, scientists between Saturn’s rings and its atmosphere increased density of hydrogen, and it is in the area of the dark bands in its atmosphere. The researchers took into account that the rings consist mainly of ice, and came to the conclusion that condensation of hydrogen is water that flows from the rings on the planet. A stream of icy debris causes perturbations in the stratosphere, which are visible as dark lines.

Observing with a telescope the Keck showed one more thing — glow in the infrared spectrum, most of those bands, which look dark in the optical. Putting all these observations, the researchers drew the following picture: material of rings held in orbit due to the equal influence of centrifugal forces, which tend to throw the particles into space, and gravity, which tries to drop them on the planet. But, having an electric charge under the action of solar ultraviolet radiation or impacts from micrometeorites, chunks of ice in the rings interacts with the magnetic field, and repeating his line, along the arc of a fly on the surface of Saturn, dropping freezing rain in the stratosphere of the planet.

In the atmosphere, the ice melts and forms ions H3+, which because of the sunlight visible in the infrared spectrum that I saw in Hawaii.

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The researchers assessed the intensity of the stream by using data from Cassini and concluded that the outer rings will be enough for about 100 million years.

“According to our estimates, with the rain pouring out so much water that she could have half an hour to fill an Olympic swimming pool”, — quotes the press release of NASA, the words of one of the study’s authors, James O’donohue from space flight Center name Goddard.

The question remains — if the rings are over a hundred million years, why they lasted for 4.5 billion years, that there is a Saturn? Perhaps ring and appeared relatively recently, after some icy satellites of Saturn was destroyed because of a collision for an unknown reason.

See also:

  • NASA showed the “swirling” clouds on Jupiter
  • Parallel lines on Saturn have puzzled scientists
  • A new theory of the formation of mercury