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Oscillations found in Saturn's rings

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Stanford, Calif. (UPI) Jan 16, 2008
U.S. scientists have found evidence of periodic variation in the density of particles in some of Saturn's outer rings.

The findings were made by instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft in a series of experiments exploring the structure of Saturn's rings, and measuring the size and distribution of particles in the rings.

The Cassini spacecraft flew behind the plane of rings A and B, near the outside of Saturn's complex ring structure, and transmitted radio waves through ring particles to Earth.

Scientists from Stanford University in California, Wellesley College in Massachusetts and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., analyzed the radio signals to help determine properties of the rings.

The scientists found oscillations in particle densities that affected the radio signals traveling through the planet's rings. The researchers posit the oscillations are caused by gravitational forces and collisions among the ring's fine particles.

The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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Cassini Image Contest Brings Nearby World Together In Search Of Beauty Beyond
Boulder CO (SPX) Jan 10, 2008
Thousands of enthusiastic fans of NASA's Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft have chosen a color picture of a tiny, dot-like planet Earth, cradled by Saturn's rings during a total solar eclipse, as the most popular image of all those so far returned by the Cassini mission.







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