Icy Tsunamis Perturb Saturn’s Rings

Saturn, as a planet, has been very good to me. In fact, after the Earth it’s probably my next favorite planet. So naturally I’m always interested in new discoveries about my #2 planetary body.

The Cassini probe–orbiting Saturn since July 1, 2004–continues to make remarkable discoveries about Saturn. The latest is that the gravitational pull of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, causes giant, circling “tsunamis” of icy particles in Saturn’s faint, inner C ring.

NASA’s Voyager 1 probe–observing Saturn’s rings from a single, shallow angle–first recorded a rippling region within the C ring during a November 1980 flyby.

Scientists working on the project suggest that if you were standing next to this tsunami, it would be large–with each peak just under a mile (1.6 kilometers tall)–but very slow moving, at only about 250 meters [820 feet] a day.

So cool!

Full article is here and pictures are here.

– S.

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