Saturn’s Phoebe Ring Is Invisible

Posted: Jun 11 2015, 5:54am CDT | by , in News | Misc

 
Saturn’s Phoebe Ring is Invisible
Nature
  • Phoebe Ring of Saturn is both Very Large and Virtually Indistinct

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The Phoebe ring of Saturn is both very large in its measurements and virtually indistinct. Thus it cannot be detected by the naked eye.

Saturn’s largest ring is an enigma in itself. For one thing, it has been discovered that this ring has double the breadth that it was thought to have had once upon a time. And of course it cannot be seen with the unaided human eye.

Moreover, the ring is composed of small particulate matter. This ought to be enough material to lend some valuable insights into the evolutionary history of the ring systems of Saturn. The beautiful planet has a series of near perfect rings that circumambulate it.

The fact that one of the rings of Saturn is gigantic in its proportions and invisible to the naked eye is something that is mind boggling since the two statements upon which it is based seem to contradict each other.

The ring is more than 10 or 20 times as large as the second largest ring. But the stuff it is composed of is so fine that it escapes detection by human agency. The rings of Saturn are arranged in halos around its middle and seem to embrace the planet. They are a truly beautiful astronomical phenomenon.

In was only about more than a decade ago that NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope picked up info about the largest ring. It seems to have eluded mankind for so long. While in clear daylight, the ring is invisible, it can be seen via infrared light and appears as more of an apparition.

The whole search for this particular ring began when Iapetus, which is a moon of Saturn, showed hybrid coloration. The invisible particles of the ring were overshadowing Iapetus.

Scientists figured that they might get a peek at the ring after all. A new discovery was in the making and the excitement was at an all-time high. They found that the ring stretched for 5 to 8 million miles.

And as for its thickness, it was to be determined by the Spitzer Space Telescope. But it was a difficult proposition. Now though with NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer Telescope, the expanse of the ring has been found to be more than 10 million miles.

And although the Phoebe ring is absolutely enormous, it consists of such fine matter that it can barely be comprehended. Most of the particles it is made of are no larger than a football. The future times are slated to shed even more light on this subject matter.

This study was published in journal Nature.

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