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   Undertoad  Sunday Aug 9 06:05 PM

Aug 10, 2009: One of Saturn's rings damaged



The Discover magazine Bad Astronomy blog says it far better than I could:

Quote:
Deep in the outer realms of our solar system, well over a billion kilometers away, something bizarre happened at Saturn’s F ring.

I mean, seriously: what the hell happened here?

This is one of the latest pictures returned from the remarkable human achievement that is the Cassini spacecraft, a probe the size of a school bus that has been orbiting the ringed planet since 2004. It’s returned one incredible picture after another, and lately — as Saturn’s orbit has brought it to a point where the rings are nearly edge-on to the Sun — things have gotten not only spectacular but also really weird.
...
It’s not exactly clear what’s going on here, even in this slightly zoomed shot. But it looks for all the world - or worlds — like some small object on an inclined orbit has punched through Saturn’s narrow F ring, bursting out from underneath, and dragging behind it a wake of particles from the rings.
The blog entry goes on to be very excited, because it's not easy to explain the event. Why does the thing apparently drag so much of the ring along with it? Why is the drag brighter at the bottom?

We don't know how often this sort of thing happens, because we haven't been watching all that long. I guess after it's all been analyzed, we'll have a clearer understanding of the rings. Who knew they were made of gelatin?


Pie  Sunday Aug 9 07:40 PM

It's like the elastic in underwear. Looks like something snagged there.



casimendocina  Sunday Aug 9 08:00 PM

Does anyone have any ideas about what the implications might be? Do they matter or is it just knowledge building?



Leokins  Sunday Aug 9 09:11 PM

I know! I know! It's an alien spaceship!
Somebody had to suggest it



dar512  Sunday Aug 9 09:18 PM

Oh crap!



TheMercenary  Sunday Aug 9 10:09 PM

It means that the thing that hit it has now been deflected from its trajectory and is now headed straight for Philly, PA.



Elspode  Sunday Aug 9 10:34 PM

Whatever it is, it is casting a shadow on the rings. Most impressive.

Footfall is one of my favorite Niven/Pournelle books.



ZenGum  Monday Aug 10 03:00 AM

SHEEEELLLLDON???!!!!



SPUCK  Monday Aug 10 06:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elspode View Post
Footfall is one of my favorite Niven/Pournelle books.
With the worst give away the entire book with one glance at the cover, cover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMercenary View Post
its trajectory and is now headed straight for Philly, PA.
Don't you mean the Hudson River?


ZenGum  Monday Aug 10 08:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPUCK View Post
Don't you mean the Hudson River?
He must be deep in denial.


capnhowdy  Monday Aug 10 08:29 AM

This may explain the plane/copter crash over the Hudson.



Madman  Monday Aug 10 09:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by casimendocina View Post
Does anyone have any ideas about what the implications might be? Do they matter or is it just knowledge building?
we're all gonna die...

2012 was a lie. The Mayans just ran out of... of... whatever they used to scrawl their fib with.

Fucking Mayans.


dar512  Monday Aug 10 11:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
He must be deep in denial.
You've got your geography mixed up. Denial is a river in Egypt.


OnyxCougar  Monday Aug 10 02:12 PM

[fundy]
It's a smudge from God's finger!
[/fundy]



Slothboy  Monday Aug 10 02:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dar512 View Post
My exact thought. I mean, it's even the F-Ring!

Time to build that bunker.


dar512  Monday Aug 10 03:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slothboy View Post
My exact thought. I mean, it's even the F-Ring!

Time to build that bunker.
And stock up on elephant guns.


TheMercenary  Tuesday Aug 11 07:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
He must be deep in denial.
Actually floating on da Congo.


Shawnee123  Wednesday Aug 12 01:18 PM

At least it's not Uranus.



barefoot serpent  Wednesday Aug 12 05:23 PM

WTF-ring



Saknussem  Friday Aug 14 08:26 PM

Didn't Wall*E drag his filthy mitt through one of the rings?



monster  Saturday Aug 15 10:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
something bizarre happened at Saturnís F ring
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
SHEEEELLLLDON???!!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawnee123 View Post
At least it's not Uranus.
Are you sure? See how we all fall apart when Sheldon's on vacation. Wait, where did he say he was going again? Are we sure this pic is SFW?


Your reply here?

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