What is going on with Saturn's rings? It appears that recent images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal what seems to be a small object that has ripped through one of the planet's otherwise flat rings. The purpose of the NASA mission, the BBC explains, was to observe "an equinox on Saturn, in a bid to learn more about the gas giant's ring system."
Discover Magazine's take on it:
It looks for all the world - or worlds -- like some small object on an inclined orbit has punched through Saturn's narrow F ring, bursting out from underneath, and dragging behind it a wake of particles from the rings. The upward-angled structure is definitely real, as witnessed by the shadow it's casting on the ring material to the lower left. And what's with the bright patch right where this object seems to have slammed in the rings? Did it shatter millions of icy particles, revealing their shinier interior material, making them brighter? Clearly, something awesome and amazing happened here.
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