Saturday , February 4 2023

Saturn's rings disappear, NASA warns


Saturn's famous rings disappear, so enjoy them while they last. According to NASA scientists, rings, which are made mainly of ice and stone, some pieces that are as big as the house – will disappear completely in less than 100 million years.

Gravity of the planet slowly pulls rings, making eroded ice precipitation particles on the surface of the planet as "rain rain." New research is based on several hours of basic observations from Hawai in 2011. During these few observed hours, rings ranged between 925 and 6000 pounds per second, enough to fill the Olympic pool within half an hour.

The rings remain suspended around Saturn thanks to carefully balanced pressure and pulling effect – the planet's gravity is trying to pull the particles while at the same time their orbital speed is trying to get them into space.


A new study, led by dr. James O & # 39; Donoghue of the NASA Planetary Megnetosphere Laboratory, describes how sometimes the ring particles become electrically charged from the sunlight. The saturn magnetic field then pulls out these charged particles, sliding down the magnetic field lines and entering the atmosphere of the planet. The particles evaporate there and become hydrogen droplets of "rain rain" that shine in the infrared light.

"Rain Rain" in Saturn is not completely different from the rain on Earth – the water is falling from the sky, "NASA researcher Jack Connerney, who suggested this phenomenon in the 1986 study," Fok Nevs. "" But in Saturn, the rain consists of parts of ring material that are very small (less than micronized) and electrically charged, so that their movement controls the magnetic field. They must move along magnetic fields, under the influence of gravity, the centrifugal force and the magnetic mirror force, from the location of the ring-source source (eg inner edge of the ring B) to the planet's ionosphere. "

The study was published on Monday in the journal Ikarus.

According to Connernei, since Saturn's magnetic field is axiosymmetric, rainy rain that comes at a certain point in the "rain" fingers down a certain width on Saturn.

"Where the rain falls, it has a dramatic effect on the ionosphere and even leaves visual evidence – for example, narrow gloomy storms that result from the exhaustion of stratospheric frost and less reflected sunlight," he added. "James [O’Donoghue] and his associates have discovered the width of the ionic density variation which, as predicted, is the result of decaying material (water in the form of small particles of ice). "


If the rainfall recorded in Hawaii in 2011 was a typical day on Saturn, O & # 39; Donoghue and his team hid themselves that the rings would be gone for 300 million years. However, new data collected from satellite Cassini, which had "mortal strokes" a year ago in Saturn's atmosphere, showed that the rains that fell on the planet's equator were even higher speeds while the craft was flooded with ice particles. Taking into account Cassini's data and his research, O & # 39; Donoghue estimates that rings have less than 100 million years to be around.

"Since rings lose material, they essentially erode, we can estimate the life of rings by observing how much things seem to have been removed," said Dr. Connernei. "We did this many years ago (with Ted Northrop) by comparing the optical depth of material in the C-ring with that in the B-ring and attributing the loss to this erosion mechanism. We have a similar life and looking at the effect on the ionosphere (with Hunter Vaite ) and many years ago. These studies produce an estimated estimated time of several to ten million years to 100 million years. "

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