Cassini spaceship which has recently started its mission to analyze Saturn’s rings, it revealed that the moons of Saturn might be younger than previously believed. Scientists from NASA have gathered data from Cassini which carefully examined the rings and moons of Saturn. Radwan Tajeddine, a research associate in astronomy at Cornell University and also a member of the European-based Encelade scientific team, has stated that all the measurements determined by Cassini proved that scientists’ view of the Saturnian system should change.
- New data from Cassini suggested that Saturn’s moons may be younger than previously thought.
- A team of researchers have studied the rigidity if the tidal bulge and the dissipation factor.
- The dissipation factor establish the movement of the moons.
The new data turned previous theories upside down. Tajeddine had developed a paper based on the data provided by Cassini, and it will be published in January 2017 in Icarus astronomy magazine. Valery Lainey at the Paris Observatory is the leader of the Encelade team. Scientists who are part of this team have offered to significant measurements regarding the dissipation factor and the rigidity of the tidal bulge.
The dissipation factor is responsible for controlling the speed of the moons’ movement. The rigidity of the tidal bulge was discovered by Augustus E. H. Love, a famous mathematician who was preoccupied with the study of elasticity.
Even if the composition of Saturn is made out of liquid helium and liquid hydrogen, it has a solid nucleus with a solid structure which enables bulging as a response to the tidal forces sent by the major moons of Saturn. This center of the planet is approximately 18 times bigger than Earth. The effects of the protuberant nucleus cause the movement of the satellites which approach or distance themselves from the globe.
Tajeddine stated that the dissipation factor and the rigidity of the tidal bulge are very hard to be separated. Thus, the team of researchers has analyzed the orbits of four moons of Saturn which were linked to bigger celestial objects like Tethys and Dione which are larger satellites. The smaller moons proved not to damage the Saturn’s tidal forces. Nevertheless, their orbits are impaired by the effect of tidal bulges sent by the nucleus of Saturn.
After they had managed to monitor the disturbances, specialists determined the measurement of Saturn’s rigidity of tidal bulge, also differentiating it from the factor of dissipation. Tajeddine argued that Saturn’s moons occurred approximately 4.5 billion years ago. If this data was accurate, then these satellites needed to be placed at a greater distance from the planet as their currently are. Thus, this implies that the moons of Saturn are younger than scientists thought.
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