Researchers said that Saturn’s rings fall on the planet as icy rain.
Scientists say this is caused by the planet’s intense gravity.
Dr. James O’Donoghue, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will track the destruction of the rings, according to the University of Reading release.
It will use some of the most powerful telescopes in the world to do so, including the James Webb Space Telescope and the Keck Hawaiian Telescope.
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“We are still trying to figure out exactly how fast it is eroding,” he said in a statement. “Currently, research indicates that the rings will only be part of Saturn for a few hundred million more years. This may seem like a long time, but in the history of the universe this is a relatively quick death. We may be very lucky to be here at a time when the rings were present.” .
Work will begin in December 2023 in the University’s Department of Meteorology. O’Donoghue, who previously worked at NASA, also plans to examine why Jupiter and Saturn’s upper atmospheres get warmer when they are farther from the sun.
Research published in March, using observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, the retired Cassini probe, the Voyager spacecraft and the retired mission from the International Ultraviolet Explorer, found that Saturn’s vast ring system is heating the giant planet’s upper atmosphere.
“This phenomenon has not been seen before in the solar system,” NASA said. “It is an unexpected interaction between Saturn and its rings that could provide a tool for predicting whether planets around other stars have Saturn-like ring systems as well.”
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The University of Reading said some experts have suggested that Saturn’s rings are only 100 million years old.
Analysis of gravity science data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in 2019 indicated that the rings formed between 10 million and 100 million years ago, during the age of the dinosaurs.
The rings are believed to be pieces of shattered comets, asteroids, or moons that erupted before reaching the sixth planet from the sun. It’s made of billions of tiny bits of ice and rock coated with other materials.
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Each ring rotates at a different speed around the gas giant.
Saturn is a huge ball composed mostly of hydrogen and helium, and it is the second largest planet in our solar system. Saturn also has dozens of moons.
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