Katie Mack @AstroKatie (a.k.a. Dr Katherine J Mack) astrophysicist/cosmologist, occasional freelance science writer, connoisseur of cosmic catastrophes Aug. 01, 2019 1 min read

Thing I will never get over: just how thin Saturn’s rings are.

(Image from @CassiniSaturn; info here:  https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA08166 )

Just how thin are they? As little as 10m thick, and 300,000 km (!!) across. If you could scale them down enough to use as a hula hoop, they’d cut you in half! More numbers here  https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/just-how-thin-are-saturns-rings 

Of course, the hula hoop example assumes they’d hold together. In actuality, the rings are made of billions of little specks of material (from dust grain size to giant boulders), made of water ice mostly, with a few rocks & some tiny moons, held in place by Saturn’s gravity.

Because the rings of Saturn are NOT solid, resonances in particle orbits and the motions of the tiny moons can create waves. Which are AMAZING. (All images here from @CassiniSaturn)

You can follow @AstroKatie.


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