NASA discovers Saturn is losing its rings

Saturn's rings could vanish much sooner than expected

Artist's impression of how Saturn could look in the next 100 million years. The innermost rings disappear as they rain onto the planet first, very slowly followed by the outer rings.

Recent studies have already found ring particles are being pulled onto Saturn's surface by gravity, causing a phenomenon known as "ring rain".

Saturn could be losing its iconic rings as an Olympic swimming pool amount of water drains from them every half an hour. Saturn's rings are dissolving faster than scientists expected, according to the study, and they could be gone in 100 million to 300 million years-a cosmological blink of the eye.

If you're weighing up the pros and cons of immortality, pop "may have to live with a ringless Saturn" on the negative list.

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The vast, majestic rings of Saturn are one of the most captivating and exquisite features of the Solar System, but unfortunately these ice-strewn bands that make this planet so distinguishable are in trouble, as scientists have discovered that they are disappearing at an alarming rate.

According to the authors, the inhabitants of the Earth were lucky to see a ring-system of Saturn, as it was formed only about 100 million years ago.

"Be that as it may, if rings are impermanent, maybe we simply passed up observing goliath ring frameworks of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, which have just thin curls today!" included Mr O'Donoghue.

Various theories have been proposed for the ring's origin. In this case, they could be formed due to the collision of a small icy satellites orbiting the planet.

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The rings are made up largely of frozen water, and they're actively dumping incredible amounts of ice onto the planet constantly. During the Voyager 1 and 2 flybys in the early 1980s, the satellites revealed a wealth of information about the planet, including how long its rings will last.

Scientists have always been trying to figure whether the planet's rings were formed at the same time as the planet itself or if they came to surround the planet later.

Saturn's rings are mainly composed of chunks of water ice ranging from microscopic to several meters.

The icy dust then rains into Saturn before disintegrating.

Saturn has been observed by a team at NASA who have been using the Keck Observatory near the summit of Mauna Kea in the US state of Hawaii. When the equilibrium is comprised, gravity pulls the particles into its upper atmosphere along the planet's invisible magnetic field lines. The researchers also made the surprising discovery of a glowing band at a higher latitude in the planets southern hemisphere. "That wasn't a complete surprise", said Connerney.

The influx of water from the rings washed away the stratospheric haze, making it appear dark and producing the narrow dark bands captured in the Voyager images.

Leading up to the September 15, 2017 "Grand Finale" of NASA's Cassini spacecraft, when the mission team plunged the probe down into the planet's atmosphere, the spacecraft was sent on a trajectory to slip between the planet and its rings. This mosaic shows everything from the expansive rings to the hexagonal jet stream at the north pole. Pandora, which is about (52 miles, 84 kilometers) wide, was on the opposite side of the rings from Cassini and Enceladus when the image was taken.

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