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Old 15-04-14, 14:15   #1
 
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Lightbulb Discovered - Birth of a NEW Moon !

Birth of a New Moon! Saturn's Icy Satellite 'Peggy' could reveal How Planets and Their Satellites Formed
  • Moon sits on edge of Saturn's A ring - the outermost the planet's rings
  • Discovered by Professor Carl Murray and named after his mother-in-law
  • Scientists estimate Peggy is around half a mile (0.8 km) in diameter
  • It could help explain how Saturn's moons may have formed in rings
  • It also provides insight into how Earth and other planets in our solar system may have formed and migrated away from the sun
By Daily Mail UK, 15 April 2014 |


Astronomers believe the Cassini spacecraft has spotted Saturn’s rings giving birth to a new moon.
Named ‘Peggy’, the baby moon sits on the very edge of Saturn's A ring - the outermost of the planet's large, bright rings.
It was first discovered exactly one year ago by Professor Carl Murray of Queen Mary University and was named after his mother-in-law.




The thin, outermost ring shown in this picture from the Cassini probe is Saturn's F ring, and the bright dot near it is the moon
Prometheus. The thicker white band is the A ring. The smudge in the red circle near what looks like the tip of that ring was created by Peggy


In a chance discovery, Professor Murray spotted disturbances on the A ring, with one showing an arc that was 20 per cent brighter than its surroundings.
The arc, which is 750 miles (1,200 km) long and 6 miles (10 km) wide, is thought to have been created by the gravitational effects of the new moon.

At present, the scientists estimate Peggy is probably no more than around half a mile (0.8 km) in diameter.
Published in the journal Icarus, the researchers predict the new moon will remain the same size, and may even be falling apart




Saturn is known to have of 53 natural with two orbiting within gaps in the main rings.
On Saturn,
a full year is the equivalent to 30 Earth years, meaning Cassini has only been able to observe a third of a Saturn year

But the process of its formation and outward movement helps in the understanding of how Saturn's icy moons formed.
‘We have not seen anything like this before,’ said Carl Murray of Queen Mary University of London, and the report's lead author.
‘We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right.’
Peggy could help explain how the cloud-wrapped Titan and ocean-holding Enceladus, may have formed in more massive rings long ago.
It also provides insight into how Earth and other planets in our solar system may have formed and migrated away from the sun.
Saturn's icy moons range in size depending on their proximity to the planet - the farther from the planet, the larger.
And many of Saturn's moons are comprised primarily of ice, as are the particles that form Saturn's rings.
Based on these facts, and other indicators, researchers recently proposed that the icy moons formed from ring particles and then moved outward, away from the planet, merging with other moons on the way.




Last year, hundreds of objects up to half a mile in diameter were caught on camera wreaking havoc with one of Saturn's rings. From left to right in the top row,
the trails in these images are 18, 85 and 96 miles long. In the bottom row from left to right, the trails are 43, 129 and 32 miles long



HOW ARE SATURN'S MOONS CREATED?


Saturn's icy moons range in size depending on their proximity to the planet - the farther from the planet, the larger.
Many of Saturn's moons are comprised primarily of ice, as are the particles that form Saturn's rings.
Based on these facts, and other indicators, researchers recently proposed that the icy moons formed from ring particles and then moved outward, away from the planet, merging with other moons on the way.

‘Witnessing the possible birth of a tiny moon is an exciting, unexpected event,’ said Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker, of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
According to Ms Spilker, Cassini's orbit will move closer to the outer edge of the A ring in late 2016 and provide an opportunity to study Peggy in more detail and perhaps even image it.
It is possible the process of moon formation in Saturn's rings has ended with Peggy, as Saturn's rings now are, in all likelihood, too depleted to make more moons.
Because they may not observe this process again, Professor Murray and his colleagues are trying to learn all they can from these observations.

‘The theory holds that Saturn long ago had a much more massive ring system capable of giving birth to larger moons,’ Professor Murray said.

‘As the moons formed near the edge, they depleted the rings and evolved, so the ones that formed earliest are the largest and the farthest out.’

Last year, hundreds of objects up to half a mile in diameter were caught on camera wreaking havoc with one of Saturn’s rings.
The objects were actually snowballs created by some of Saturn’s 60 moons, like Prometheus.

At the time of the discovery, Professor Murray said, ‘I think the F ring is Saturn's weirdest ring, and these latest Cassini results go to show how the F ring is even more dynamic than we ever thought.’
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