facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Studies: Planet rings show impact signs

March 31, 2011 at 8:14 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- Asteroid and comet impacts have marked solid bodies throughout the solar system and have affected the rings of the giant planets, U.S. researchers say.

In two papers published in the journal Science, researchers say comet impacts in recent decades have left visible marks on the rings of both Saturn and Jupiter, AAAS ScienceMag.org reported Thursday.

In August 2009, the orbiting Cassini spacecraft recorded images of 65-foot-high corrugations rippling across 900 miles of Saturn's inner ring, which is only about 30 feet thick.

Researchers discovered the corrugations were in fact one continuous wave spiraling in the ring like a groove in a vinyl long-play record.

In 2007, the New Horizons spacecraft heading to Pluto photographed two wave sets spiraling through each other in the faint, dusty ring of Jupiter.

One of those waves appears to be still on the move 13 years after fragments from comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit the ring on their way to pummeling Jupiter in 1994, researchers say.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
NASA satellite shows scope of Aral Sea disaster NASA satellite shows scope of Aral Sea disaster
2
Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus
3
Social network Ello getting thousands of requests per hour Social network Ello getting thousands of requests per hour
4
35,000 walruses haul out of ocean, crowd Alaskan shore 35,000 walruses haul out of ocean, crowd Alaskan shore
5
Antarctic ice loss responsible for measurable shift in gravity Antarctic ice loss responsible for measurable shift in gravity
Trending News
x
Feedback