Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Science issue focused on Cassini's finale
Unmanned > Outer Solar System > Saturn > Cassini Huygens > Cassini general discussion and science results
There are multiple articles here about Cassini and Saturn, with particular focus on the rings.

Two highlights: The mass of Saturn's rings is about 0.41 times that of Mimas and the age of the rings is estimated at 10 to 100 million years.
Bjorn Jonsson
Lots of interesting results. A very interesting result is that the gravity measurements are not consistent with interior models relying on uniform rotation - deep differential rotation is required. The zonal wind flows are very deep and extend to a depth of ~9000 km. Interestingly, this is much deeper than Jupiter's winds (~3000 km).
One summary of Juno results included the supposition that Jupiter's magnetic field may be what dampens the deep winds – certainly a mechanism alien to terrestrial meteorology.

I just did the math on what the mass of Saturn's rings means in more relatable units: Given the area of the main rings, that mass corresponds to a solid disk 28 cm thick. Of course, we've known for centuries that that's not how their structure works. That would correspond to, say, rings 50 meters thick at about 200:1 empty space to solid matter. That would correspond to ring particles floating in a matrix with the space between particle centers about 6 times the particle diameter. At least on average, the gaps between the snowballs making up the rings would be too small for a person to nudge their way through without bumping into some. Of course, the density is known to be variable, but that paints a picture for me that's more vivid than I've had been before.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2019 Invision Power Services, Inc.