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More talk on Saturn's rings

More talk on Saturn's rings

In 1610, Galileo was the first to see Saturn's rings with the help of his primitive telescope. At that time he saw only two bulges next to the planet, but in 1616 he certainly noticed the curved shapes, the “cup ears”, the true nature of which was revealed by Huygens 45 years later.

Galileo's drawings of Saturn as he saw it in 1610 and again in 1616.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

We were then able to see more details using ground-based telescopes, but were still only able to see four of the complex ring system until the Voyager spacecraft's close-up shots were complete. That's when we first saw the ring-like shapes forming on the rings, the latest images of which were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Such a recording was actually published in February 2023, but the speaking season continues, and Hubble Also his latest pictures on this topic.

The latest image was taken by the space telescope on October 22, 2023, and the image also reveals the nature of the speaker. This phenomenon, when it appears in one part of the rings, is visible for a few rotations of the column, and then is absorbed. From long-term Hubble observations, we now know that it is a seasonal phenomenon, as the number and contrast of speakers changes. Most of the speakers can be observed around the time of Saturn's equinox, which occurs in 2025. In this case, not only does their number increase, but their darkness also increases.

Speaker in the last recording

Source: NASA, ESA, STScI, Amy Simon (NASA-GSFC)

In the last image, the ring is decorated with some shadow-like ribs on both sides of the planet, which, although compared to Saturn, does not appear large, but its length and width are greater than the diameter of the Earth.

According to the currently accepted theory, the protrusions are also linked to the magnetic field of the giant planet, and more precisely, the interaction between the Sun and the planet’s magnetism plays a role in their formation, which is also affected by the planet’s tilt angle. According to planetary researchers, dust or ice particles floating above the rings are buoyed by electrostatic forces generated by the interaction of the solar wind and magnetic field. However, there are still many questions that we hope the series of Hubble Space Telescope observations will help answer.

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