Saturn's Rings Are Evidence of an Ancient Moon's Death Spiral

Saturn's Rings Are Evidence of an Ancient Moon's Death Spiral

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A scientific study posits that the beautiful rings surrounding the planet Saturn were actually created from the death throes of an ancient moon.

The origin of Saturn's rings has been a mystery for a long time. At first, astronomers believed that the rings were debris created when two of Saturn's many moons collided and showered bits of rock and ice into the outer atmosphere of the fifth planet in our solar system. But, as our probes gather more information about the makeup of Saturn's moons, the evidence didn't match up. The rings are almost 95 percent ice, while the moons are half rock and half ice. If the rings were made from a collision, then what happened to all of the rock debris? A new study written by Dr. Robin Canup, from the Southwest Research Institute, and published in the scientific journal Nature puts forth the theory that a large moon, bigger than Saturn's Titan, fell out of orbit slowly with gravity pulling off the layers of ice before the rocky center hit the surface. The ice stayed in orbit and formed the rings that we all recognize.

Canup's theory begins with the formation of the planets in our solar system. Billions of years ago, around each of the major planets was a disc of hydrogen and other elements that eventually coalesced into solid moons. Some of these would have fallen into Saturn, while the orbits of others could have degenerated over 10,000 years, leaving behind the rings. This would also explain some of Saturn's smaller moons which may have formed from ring materials.

Other experts are happy with the new theory. Larry Esposito, an astronomer from the University of Colorado said that it was "a very clever, original idea," and that he was interested in the idea that moons formed from the rings. "I would call it more like cosmic recycling," Esposito said. "It's not so much a final demise, but a cosmic effort to reuse materials again and again."

Source: Australian Geographic

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I'm still waiting for scientists to explain what the giant hexagon on the top of Saturn is about. It's a few miles deep and very obvious, I just want to know how/why is it there? It's truly something strange.

An interesting hypothesis, to say the least. There's still so much we don't know or haven't thought of!

Greg Tito:
"I would call it more like cosmic recycling," Esposito said. "It's not so much a final demise, but a cosmic effort to reuse materials again and again."

One of the standard things the universe does; matter lends itself to re-use. Said matter started life as hydrogen and formed stars. In those first stars it was burned into heavier elements until too much of it had formed into iron, which can't be normally fused. Unable to maintain the power of fusion against gravity, the stars collapsed in on themselves. But the laws of physics intervened. After being pushed as far as it would go, the matter pushed back in a horrifically powerful explosion, so powerful it blasted the outer layers of the star outward AND fused them into even heavier things not possible during the normal fusion a star is capable of. These random chunks of star material passed into space. There they collided with other pieces of other stars that contained different heavy elements. All this chaos disrupted balls of hydrogen gas that had the potential to become stars, giving these fledglings the little push they needed to start burning. Smaller collections of that same material around these newborn stars fell together into planets. And on at least one of these planets, some of the matter arranged itself in such a way that it could create more of itself out of the environment around it, and life was born.

Look at everything around you: All of it (and all of you), save a few atoms here and there, was first forged in the death throes of ancient and long-forgotten suns.

I'm sorry, but the words "death spiral" brought this up in my mind:

But anyways, it's nice to know where the rings came from.

Raziel_Likes_Souls:
I'm sorry, but the words "death spiral" brought this up in my mind:

But anyways, it's nice to know where the rings came from.

Funny thing is, when I read "Death spiral" what came to mind was Ricky Gervais career.

Greg Tito:
At first, astronomers believed that the rings were debris created when two of Saturn's many moons collided and showered bits of rock and ice into the outer atmosphere of the fifth planet in our solar system.

Might want to retake junior high astronomy. I think you mean "Sixth" planet.

Huh, interesting. Sounds plausible, indeed.

Oh boy, am I a sucker for stuff like this.

Somethingfake:

Raziel_Likes_Souls:
I'm sorry, but the words "death spiral" brought this up in my mind:

But anyways, it's nice to know where the rings came from.

Funny thing is, when I read "Death spiral" what came to mind was Ricky Gervais career.


I see what you did there. That was a lot funnier than the Invention of Lying, at least.

Ain't nature neat?

It is possible....but this is a theory.

Science is very seldom correct about anything.

I think Saturn is the sixth planet, not the fifth.

OT: sounds interesting, but not incredibly useful or game-changing.

Greg Tito:
*snip*

Is that picture from Orbiter? If so, then sweet, I'm not the only one whose heard of it!

Digikid:
It is possible....but this is a theory.

Science is very seldom correct about anything.

troll, or just really random?

this is your theory that science is rarely correct about anything? what?

Sounds more plausible then the other theory but then again i am not a scientist.

I wish Earth had rings...

I can't really see how any gravitational effect can pull ice from an ice covered rock to fly outwards while the core itself is pulled inwards, but thats just me.
But since we know quantum physics, "physics shouldn't work that way!" isn't a valid argument anymore, so.

the formation of new "rocks" from the rings on the other hand seems plausible.

Flauros:

Digikid:
It is possible....but this is a theory.

Science is very seldom correct about anything.

troll, or just really random?

this is your theory that science is rarely correct about anything? what?

It's true. Do you know how often we get things wrong before the theory finally fits all the information. Take light. First it was thought to be a wave. Then particles. Then waves. Evidence kept surfacing that said it can't be one theory or the other. Now light is just weird. It is in fact both. I don't care if they are right, I still think it's a coincidence. I'm pretty sure it was a cop out, and they got lucky.
"Fuck it, light is both particle and wave... Hey, that fits."
Don't ask me how, that shit is quantum mechanics kinda stuff.
OT: Cool theory, but I really wanna know what the deal is with black holes. Figure that one out scientists.

Snotnarok:
I'm still waiting for scientists to explain what the giant hexagon on the top of Saturn is about. It's a few miles deep and very obvious, I just want to know how/why is it there? It's truly something strange.


Ask and ye shall receive.

Rainforce:
I can't really see how any gravitational effect can pull ice from an ice covered rock to fly outwards while the core itself is pulled inwards, but thats just me.
But since we know quantum physics, "physics shouldn't work that way!" isn't a valid argument anymore, so.

the formation of new "rocks" from the rings on the other hand seems plausible.

The core isn't pulled "inwards" as you might think, it wouldn't be like an asteroid colliding with the planet. It's still an orbiting moon, but with an unstable orbit that slowly brings it closer to the planet. Fragments breaking off from the surface in this situation may very well be "left behind" while the moon continues on its deadly voyage.

EDIT: Double post, somehow...

Imsety:

Snotnarok:
I'm still waiting for scientists to explain what the giant hexagon on the top of Saturn is about. It's a few miles deep and very obvious, I just want to know how/why is it there? It's truly something strange.


Ask and ye shall receive.

Rainforce:
I can't really see how any gravitational effect can pull ice from an ice covered rock to fly outwards while the core itself is pulled inwards, but thats just me.
But since we know quantum physics, "physics shouldn't work that way!" isn't a valid argument anymore, so.

the formation of new "rocks" from the rings on the other hand seems plausible.

The core isn't pulled "inwards" as you might think, it wouldn't be like an asteroid colliding with the planet. It's still an orbiting moon, but with an unstable orbit that slowly brings it closer to the planet. Fragments breaking off from the surface in this situation may very well be "left behind" while the moon continues on its deadly voyage.

Explained ...but still awesome. Space rules.

Imsety:
The core isn't pulled "inwards" as you might think, it wouldn't be like an asteroid colliding with the planet. It's still an orbiting moon, but with an unstable orbit that slowly brings it closer to the planet. Fragments breaking off from the surface in this situation may very well be "left behind" while the moon continues on its deadly voyage.

thanks, I expected this, but the article wasnt really clear enough.
This explanation sounds far better than "[...]with gravity pulling off the layers of ice before the rocky center hit the surface." XD

and yeah, it would be pulled inwards, plus its rotational movement.

Flauros:

Digikid:
It is possible....but this is a theory.

Science is very seldom correct about anything.

troll, or just really random?

this is your theory that science is rarely correct about anything? what?

Yes I do not believe in science.....and what I said is the absolute truth. All you have to do is look at our history and you will see constant " Oops we were wrong " moments.

Yes we learn from those times....which happens about 90% of the time but the primary "Theories" are almost always WRONG.

I have to ask: NO ONE is going to make a reference to "Majora's Mask?" No one at all? Really?

Earth needs bling too =(

Digikid:

Flauros:

Digikid:
It is possible....but this is a theory.

Science is very seldom correct about anything.

troll, or just really random?

this is your theory that science is rarely correct about anything? what?

Yes I do not believe in science.....and what I said is the absolute truth. All you have to do is look at our history and you will see constant " Oops we were wrong " moments.

Yes we learn from those times....which happens about 90% of the time but the primary "Theories" are almost always WRONG.

Woah, really? You do realise that almost everything in our modern world is here because of science, right? You do know that we know a lot of stuff thanks to science, right? And that we nowadays live to the ripe old age of 70-80 is because of science, right?

Still, what you said is in fact true, just not in the way you meant it to be. Science is never right or wrong, science only explains and investigates. Science does not claim to know the truth as the truth is already out there, science is the art of uncovering it. And every proven, partially disproven or completely disproven hypothesis (don't mix up your terms, a theory is something else than a hypothesis) is one step closer to that goal.

Raziel_Likes_Souls:
I'm sorry, but the words "death spiral" brought this up in my mind:

But anyways, it's nice to know where the rings came from.

But wouldn't that be a life spiral?
I thought of this.
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Drakmeire:

Raziel_Likes_Souls:
I'm sorry, but the words "death spiral" brought this up in my mind:

But anyways, it's nice to know where the rings came from.

But wouldn't that be a life spiral?
I thought of this.

True dat, but I guess the mention of space made me think of Gurren Lagann.

 

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