Secret of the planet Saturn’s mysterious rings

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KUWAIT CITY, Sept 27: Since they were first seen through a telescope, Saturn’s rings have puzzled astronomers, but a team of researchers now believe they have discovered the origins of the “mysterious rings,” reports Al-Rai daily.

A new series of computer simulations suggests that a massive collision between two icy moons millions of years ago may have led to the formation of these rings.

The most recent high-quality measurements of Saturn came from the Cassini spacecraft, which spent 13 years studying the planet and its systems after entering Saturn’s orbit in 2004.

Cassini found that the rings are almost pure ice, and very little dust pollution has accumulated since their formation, indicating that they formed during the last period of the solar system’s life.

This sparked the interest of scientists from NASA, as well as the Universities of Durham and Glasgow, in modeling what different collisions between previous moons might look like.

These simulations were performed using more than 100 times higher resolution than previous studies, giving scientists their best insights into the history of the Saturnian system.

Vincent Ecke, from Durham University, said: “We tested the hypothesis of the recent formation of Saturn’s rings and found that the impact of icy moons is able to send enough material near Saturn to form the rings we see now.”

Today, Saturn’s rings are located near the planet within what is known as the “Roche limit,” which is a term that refers to the minimum distance at which a moon or satellite can resist a subsequent gravity without shattering.

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