Snowballs caught crashing into Saturn's weirdest ring

From a distance, Saturn's rings look flawlessly smooth, as if they've been in their current state indefinitely. But as the Voyager and Cassini probes have witnessed, the rings are incredibly dynamic. Small moons shepherd the ice and dust that comprise the rings, providing them with structure. At the same time, the passing of the moons creates gravitational distortions in the rings: spokes, ripples, and gaps within the ring material. As the ring material gets pushed together or pulled apart, smaller bodies can form within the ring, or be pulled apart into tiny ring particles. While watching one of Saturn's moons, Prometheus, shepherd the edges of the F ring, researchers were surprised to find what they've termed "minijets," trails of ring particles that can be over 100 kilometers long. Although they don't have the ability to image the objects causing these jets, researchers think that they're simply large snowballs that have been aggregated under the influence of gravity, and were gradually pushed out of the

Snowballs caught crashing into Saturn's weirdest ring

See the first video of sparkling mini-jets on one of Saturn's most distant rings

Thu 26 Apr 12 from Newscientist

Mystery jets in Saturn's rings

Thu 26 Apr 12 from TIME

Strange Objects Punching Holes Through Saturn’s Outer Ring

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has revealed mysterious kilometer-sized objects that punch through Saturn's chaotic and ever-changing F ring, leaving trails of ice behind them.

Wed 25 Apr 12 from Wired Science

Cassini sees objects blazing trails in Saturn ring

(Phys.org) -- Scientists working with images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have discovered strange half-mile-sized (kilometer-sized) objects punching through parts of Saturn's F ring, leaving ...

Tue 24 Apr 12 from Phys.org

Pictures: Huge "Snowballs" Seen Piercing Saturn's Outer Ring

Odd objects seen sailing through the planet's outer F ring create glittering trails of ice dubbed mini-jets, researchers have announced.

Wed 25 Apr 12 from National Geographic

Mysterious Objects Punching Holes In Weird Saturn Ring

The outermost F ring around Saturn has long been a mystery.

Tue 24 Apr 12 from SPACE.com

Small objects blasting a path through Saturn's F ring

From a distance, Saturn's rings look flawlessly smooth, as if they've been in their current state indefinitely. But as the Voyager and Cassini probes have witnessed, the rings are incredibly ...

Tue 24 Apr 12 from Ars Technica

Nasa's Cassini probe snaps objects punching through Saturn's F ring

Huge snowballs have been snapped punching through Saturn’s F ring, the outermost of the planet's main rings, with a radius of about 87,000 miles.

Tue 24 Apr 12 from Daily Mail

Cassini spots tears in Saturn's rings

NASA scientists have unveiled video of jumbo snowballs punches glittering trails in Saturn's rings.

Mon 23 Apr 12 from USA today

Cassini Spacecraft Sees New Objects Blazing Trails in Saturn Ring

Scientists working with images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have discovered strange, half-mile-sized objects punching through one of Saturn's rings and leaving glittering trails behind them.

Mon 23 Apr 12 from Science @ NASA

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