Feeds

Saturn's new rings spark search for moons

Smoke, fire etc...

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The recent discovery of new rings around Saturn has prompted speculation that the Cassini mission will find previously unidentified moons orbiting the planet.

"Just like the old maxim that says 'where there's smoke there's fire', at Saturn, where there's a new ring there's bound to be a moon," said Jeff Cuzzi, Cassini interdisciplinary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Centre.

In mid-September, Cassini moved into Saturn's shadow and viewed the rings, backlit by the sun. As we reported, the researchers identified a new ring that shares its orbit with the moons Janus and Epimetheus, just inside the E and G rings.

A week later, another ring was discovered overlying the orbit of the moon Pallene. A third and fourth ring were also identified by Cassini in a gap in the Saturnian ring system. These latest rings were not imaged by the voyager spacecraft.

"We are hot on the trail of these possible elusive moonlets," said Joe Burn, Cassini imaging scientist at Cornell University.

"Finding the moons and learning about their interactions with the rings will help us understand how the moons formed and perhaps how the Saturn system formed."

The images taken while Saturn sheltered Cassini from the sun also revealed differences in the composition of the rings that have surprised astronomers.

The infrared images reveal striking colour differences in the rings, indicating variations in composition and in microscopic particles between the various rings. The main rings show a neutral color, while the C ring is reddish, and the D and E rings are quite blue.

Researchers are not sure what causes the difference in colour, but speculate that it could be to do with the size of the particles or the composition of the ring material. NASA says there are hints that materials other than the usual water-ice might be identified in the ring system. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.