lecture21spring2009 - Astronomy100Dr.Rhodes Lecture Chapter...

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Astronomy 100 - Dr. Rhodes Lecture # 21 - 3/6/2009
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Chapter 9: The Jovian Planets Saturn’s Rings Planetary Rings Saturn’s rings are very thin, in some cases less than 100 meters across. The rings are not solid sheets but are made up of small particles of water ice or rock coated with ice. Each ring particle revolves around Saturn according to Kepler’s laws.
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Chapter 9: The Jovian Planets Saturn’s Rings Ground-based images showed 3 rings which were named (outer to inner) A, B, C. Actually, we now know from spacecraft images that there are more than 1000 rings The largest division between some of the rings is known as Cassini’s division . This space is caused largely by the gravity of Mimas acting synchronously on the orbital path of nearby ring particles. Other ring features are explained by the presence of small shepherd moons .
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Relationships Between Some of Saturn’s Moons and Gaps in Its Rings
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Chapter 9: The Jovian Planets Saturn’s Rings Theories on the Origin of Saturn’s Rings The origin of Saturn’s rings is not well understood but is thought to be the result of a close-orbiting, icy moon that was shattered by a collision with a passing asteroid. Tidal forces are greater on a moon in orbit close to a planet than they are on a moon in an orbit farther out.
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Other Ideas on the Formation of Saturn’s Rings Alternatively, the rings could have been formed when a comet or an asteroid passed too close to Saturn and it was pulled apart by the tidal force of the planet acting on that comet or asteroid. Finally, the rings might also be due to material which was too close to the planet to ever form a moon in the first place.
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Chapter 9: The Jovian Planets Saturn’s Rings The Roche limit is the minimum radius at which a satellite (held together by gravitational forces) may orbit without being broken apart by tidal forces.
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  • Spring '08
  • RHODES
  • Astronomy, Planet, Neptune

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