Scientists discover massive ring around Saturn

It's been about a month and a half since I last blogged. Yay. Before I say anything,I'd like to congratulate everyone who managed to become a prefect, especially Deepak, 'cause I was campaigning for him and all, that's a different story, I'll tell you later.

So anyway, my parents saw this on CNN, and I thought, Wow. How could we have missed that? Turns out the ring is actually invisible, and can only be detected by thermal imaging.

On 6 October 2009, the discovery was announced of a tenuous outer disk of material that is in the plane of Phoebe's orbit, which is tilted 27 degrees from Saturn's equatorial plane. The ring is from 128 to 207 times the radius of Saturn, and is thought to originate from micrometeoroid impacts on Phoebe, which orbits at an average distance of 215 Saturn radii. The ring material should thus share Phoebe's retrograde orbital motion, and after migrating inward would encounter Iapetus's leading face, which could explain the two-faced nature of this satellite. I took this from Wikipedia, it doesn't matter as long as you understand it. Don't understand? Basically it means that this new ring, Phoebe, is tilted about 27 degrees from its other rings. And Iapetus is one of Saturn's moons, and from Earth, Iapetus looks half black, half white, like the yin yang symbol. Phoebe orbits Saturn in the opposite direction that Iapetus orbits Saturn, so all that dust and rock in Phoebe hits one half of Iapetus, giving it a 'two-faced nature'. Here're some pics I took from CNN and Wikipedia:

This is Iapetus, you can see the dark side of the moon on the right side of the picture.

And this is Phoebe, the huge ring around Saturn, which is the tiny dot in the centre.

A Quote

"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as though you'll die today"
- James Dean