A new paper has been published in MNRAS (Monthly Notices of the Astronomical Society) by Dr Phil Sutton titled “On the tidal environment of an outwardly migrating F ring“.
The paper used computer models of Saturn’s unique narrow ring, the F ring, to investigate interactions with nearby moon Prometheus. Below is an image taken by the Cassini spacecraft of Prometheus as it creates structures (streamer-channels) in the F ring by gravitational perturbations.
Planetary rings, like Saturn’s, are know to be astronomically short lived. In time the rings accrete into moons and disappear. Since the F ring liess at the edge of the main rings and close the Roche limit (the distance at which an object can exist to a planet before gravitational tides completely pull it apart) it is important for the formation of moons. Planetary rings are also known to spread outwards. If the F ring does…
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