Feeds

New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING

Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings

Business security measures using SSL

Boffins peering at images sent home by NASA's Cassini spacecraft think they may have spotted the first throes of a new moon coming into being.

Dubbed “Peggy”, the moonlet is probably a lump of ice. But astroboffin Carl Murray from Queen Mary University of London, lead author of a paper to be published in the journal Icarus, told NASA the lump looks to be breaking away from one of the planet's famous rings.

The picture below shows Peggy. We've circled her in red.

Peggy, a possible new Saturnian moon

Peggy: that little bright spot in the red circle might just be a new moon

Not impressed? Murray says Peggy is probably only 800 metres in diameter which makes it too small to see. But the mere fact there's a bright spot to see is unusual: Saturn's rings are usually very smooth. Boffins therefore think the bump and the extra light prove something is on the move.

Even if Peggy has indeed broken free to become a mini-moon (the snap above was captured on April 15th, 2013) it is not destined to float alone forever. Instead, Murray hypothesises that Saturn's rings may once have been rather larger but that over time a great many Peggy-like lumps have spun off before eventually bumping into each other to become the 60-plus moons the gas giant possesses. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.