Friday, June 05, 2020

Gravity waves rulel :)

A dynamical interplay between Saturn's largest moon, Titan, and its rings is captured in this view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft taken on Sept. 20, 2009 and released Dec. 23, 2013. At every location within Saturn's rings, particles orbit with a particular period, or rhythm. This image is focused on two separate and nearby locations in the rings where those rhythms are in synchrony with different aspects of Titan's 16-day orbit, creating signature effects that point from a distance back towards Titan. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute )

Cassini, the mission that keeps on giving ...

Not long after NASA's Cassini mission arrived at Saturn in 2004, researchers realized that the planet's rings were oscillating strangely. Instead of single waves, which are predicted by existing theory, the spacecraft revealed clusters of small waves that could be explained by the presence of gravity waves in the deepest part of the planet's interior.

"What's really special about [gravity waves] is that their mere existence requires that at least part of that deep interior to be relatively calm and stable rather than convective," Christopher Mankovich, a researcher at the California Institute of Technology, told in an email.

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