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A Small Find Near Equinox

9 Jun 2017, 02:01 UTC
A Small Find Near Equinox
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

NASA dixit:
“July 26, 2009. The Cassini spacecraft captured this image of a small object in the outer portion of Saturn’s B ring casting a shadow on the rings as Saturn approaches its August 2009 equinox. This new moonlet, situated about 300 miles (480 kilometers), inward from the outer edge of the B ring, was found by detection of its shadow which stretches 25 miles, or 41 kilometers, across the rings. The shadow length implies the moonlet is protruding about 660 feet, or 200 meters, above the ring plane. If the moonlet is orbiting in the same plane as the ring material surrounding it, which is likely, it must be about 1,300 feet, or 400 meters, across.
This object is not attended by a propeller feature, unlike the band of moonlets discovered in Saturn’s A ring earlier by Cassini. The A ring moonlets, which have not been directly imaged, were found because of the propeller-like narrow gaps on either side of them that they create as they orbit within the rings. The lack of a propeller feature surrounding the new moonlet is likely because the B ring is dense, and the ring material in a dense ring would be expected ...

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