Astronomy Picture of the Day

Particle Sizes in Saturn's Rings

Bild Note: 0 (0 Votes)

⏴ previousBild Upload von 18.02.2016 21:43next ⏵
#74017 by @ 26.05.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
Particle Sizes in Saturn's Rings

What size particles compose Saturn's rings?

To help find out, the
robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting
Saturn broadcast
radio waves of three different wavelengths
right through the rings to Earth earlier this month.

The experiment was sensitive to
ring particle sizes because ring particles much larger than a
broadcast radio wavelength will reflect those radio waves away.

Three different wavelengths were used: approximately 1
centimeter, 3.5 centimeters, and 13 centimeters.

The results are coded into the
above false-color digitally reconstructed image.

In the
above image, the color purple indicates regions
populated predominantly by ring particles larger than 5 centimeters,
while the color green indicates regions with a significant population
of small ring particles less than even 1 centimeter.

The white center of
Saturn's B-ring
indicates that the density of ring particles
was too high to make a good determination.

Other radio observations indicate that some
ring particles can be as large as several meters across.

The impressive nature and
of the above sharp image may help determine clues
about the origin of Saturn's beautiful but
enigmatic ring system.

Credit & Copyright