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Cassini Discovers a New Moonlet in Saturn’s Rings

9 Aug 2009, 09:53 UTC
Cassini Discovers a New Moonlet in Saturn’s Rings
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As Saturn approaches its August 11th equinox (during which the Sun will be directly above the gas giant’s equator at noon for 27 months), the Cassini Equinox Mission can do some moonlet spotting. During this time, sunlight will cast long shadows of any object protruding from the 10 metre-thick rings.
In this case, hidden inside [...]Post from: Astroengine.comCassini Discovers a New Moonlet in Saturn’s Rings

The ~400 meter moonlet casts a 25 mile shadow across Saturn's B-ring (NASA)
As Saturn approaches its August 11th equinox (during which the Sun will be directly above the gas giant’s equator at noon for 27 months), the Cassini Equinox Mission can do some moonlet spotting. During this time, sunlight will cast long shadows of any object protruding from the 10 metre-thick rings.
In this case, hidden inside Saturn’s B-ring, a moonlet with a diameter of approximately 400 metres becomes obvious when sunlight hits the rings edge-on. The result is a very obvious 25 mile-long shadow. This discovery wouldn’t have been possible during any other time, as Cassini can only see the small rock because of its shadow. If the Sun was above or below the rings, no shadow would be cast, and ...

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