Tuesday, June 18

Saturn Has Much Younger Rings Than We Thought

Physicist Sascha Kempf from the University of Colorado Boulder has presented compelling evidence that the rings of Saturn are surprisingly young, resolving a mystery that has puzzled scientists for more than a century.

According to a study published on May 12 in the journal Science Advances, the rings are no more than 400 million years old, which is much younger than the planet. Saturn itself is only 4.5 billion years old, and compared to the rings, that’s a huge difference.

Researchers discovered this by studying the accumulation of dust on the rings, using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. This spacecraft orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017, which gave researchers loads of information to work with.

Kempf says the dust says a lot about the age of the rings . “Think about the rings like the carpet in your house, If you have a clean carpet laid out, you just have to wait. Dust will settle on your carpet. The same is true for the rings”

Saturn is the 6th planet away from the Sun, and was discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. It has 53 known moons, with an additional 9 waiting to be discovered and named. It seems we are learning more about space every day.