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Cassini has descry the birth of mini-satellites in the rings of Saturn.. / July 26, 2010 /

Probe «Cassini» was the first to see the formation of miniature satellites of the rings, according to a press release, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Article scientists detailing the results appeared in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Using a spectrograph installed on the device, the researchers found a ring of F clusters of matter (mostly ice and dust). According to the researchers, the radius of these objects can reach 20 kilometers. In this case the resulting blocks are essentially full-fledged celestial bodies — in particular, its own gravitational attraction keeps them from destruction.

Researchers believe that the responsibility for establishing the objects are gravitational fields of Saturn’s satellites Prometheus and Pandora, which make the ring material collected in bunches. Scientists emphasize that the first time they’ve seen these objects directly in the process of formation.

The formation of clots, help explain the origin of the mysterious object S/2004 S 6. This is the body with a diameter of 5 to 10 kilometers was discovered Cassini in 2004. A distinctive feature of this celestial body is the unusual trajectory, moving from where it regularly «breaks» F ring core. Such events give rise to jets of matter perpendicular to the plane of the ring.

The probe Cassini was launched in 1997 and reached orbit the gas giant in 2004. The project is a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA and the Italian Space Agency. More recently, the mission of the probe was extended until 2017.

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