A ghostly 'ladder' in Saturn's F ring

Jun 03, 2013 by Jason Major
A ladder-like structure in Saturn’s F ring seen by Cassini on Feb. 13, 2013. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Saturn's F ring is certainly a curious structure. Orbiting the giant planet 82,000 kilometers above its equatorial cloud tops, the F ring is a ropy, twisted belt of bright ice particles anywhere from 30-500 km wide. It can appear as a solid band or a series of braided cords surrounded by a misty haze, and often exhibits clumps and streamers created by the gravitational influence of embedded moonlets or passing shepherd moons.

In the picture above, acquired by the Cassini spacecraft on Feb. 13, 2013 and released on May 27, we see a section of the F ring separated into long ropes and spanned by connecting bands of bright material—the "ladder" structure suggested in the title.

Scientists believe that interactions between the F ring and the moons Prometheus and Pandora cause the dynamic structure of the F ring.

Made of particles of water ice finer than , the F ring orbits Saturn beyond the outer edge of the A ring across the expanse of the 2,600-km-wide Roche Division. In these images, Saturn and the main ring systems are off frame to the left.

Animation of Saturn’s F ring and shepherd moons.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 32 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the 's narrow-angle camera (NAC).

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 426,000 miles (686,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a phase angle of 162 degrees. Image scale is 2 miles (4 kilometers) per pixel.

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cantdrive85
1.4 / 5 (9) Jun 03, 2013
It can appear as a solid band or a series of braided cords surrounded by a misty haze, and often exhibits clumps and streamers created by the gravitational influence of embedded moonlets or passing shepherd moons.


Nope, plasma effects are driving this interaction. Kristian Birkeland was able to reproduce a ring system using his Terella, electricity and plasma dominate here, gravity's influence is minute at best.
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (7) Jun 04, 2013
It can appear as a solid band or a series of braided cords surrounded by a misty haze, and often exhibits clumps and streamers created by the gravitational influence of embedded moonlets or passing shepherd moons.


Nope, plasma effects are driving this interaction. Kristian Birkeland was able to reproduce a ring system using his Terella, electricity and plasma dominate here, gravity's influence is minute at best.


Yep, agreed. There's quite a wild electrical environment going on in and around the rings - we need to stop being astonished by them, much less making up "gravitational" explanations for them.
no fate
5 / 5 (3) Jun 05, 2013
It is a magnetic environment guys, not an electrical one. The material in the F-ring is:

A - too cold
B - not dense enough
C - due to A and B not turbulent enough to produce electric effects.
D - composed of materials larger than molecules and atoms (not plasma)

"the F ring is a ropy, twisted belt of bright ice particles anywhere from ...."

The features in this ring are produced as stated in the article. The longevity and structure of the rings is due to a fair amount of varibles, mainly the composition (mostly H2O and its magnetic properties) and the succeptibility of this medium to magnetic flux. But gravity from all of the bodies involved is also a factor.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (4) Jun 05, 2013
It is a magnetic environment guys, not an electrical one. The material in the F-ring is:

A - too cold
B - not dense enough
C - due to A and B not turbulent enough to produce electric effects.
D - composed of materials larger than molecules and atoms (not plasma)

"the F ring is a ropy, twisted belt of bright ice particles anywhere from ...."

The features in this ring are produced as stated in the article. The longevity and structure of the rings is due to a fair amount of varibles, mainly the composition (mostly H2O and its magnetic properties) and the succeptibility of this medium to magnetic flux. But gravity from all of the bodies involved is also a factor.

Unless the magnetic environment is created by magic, electric currents must be present.
In regards to A-D, a better understanding of the wide range possible plasma configurations the Saturnian environment would do you well. Gravity is a factor, albeit a marginal one at best. It is very much electrical in nature.
no fate
5 / 5 (2) Jun 05, 2013
CD85- Have you ever attached a voltage meter to fridge magnet? Try it and see if it registers anything. Strength or size of the magnet is irrelavent, there is still no voltage or current present. Read the entire Wiki page on magnetism...all types, not just EM. If you have a page on the plasma configurations of the saturnian environment I'll expand my understanding in your direction.

Water is magnetically attacted to itself in all of it's states, not electrically. This attraction happens for many elements, but the temperature has to be in the correct range or the atoms have to be at or very near their ground state. For the physics of the rings temperature is the problem I see for any application of plasma physics.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (3) Jun 05, 2013
If you have a page on the plasma configurations of the saturnian environment I'll expand my understanding in your direction.


Here you go...
http://www.nasa.g...531.html

More on Birkeland;

http://www.scribd...-Physics

And a bit more here;

http://www.thunde...ring.htm
no fate
5 / 5 (2) Jun 05, 2013
After reading links 1 and 3 I would say we have an impass. I have read the Cassini findings re: Enceladus, loved that article because we found something new we didn't know before. The plasma torus discussed in link 3 is a seperate phenomenon from the rings as it is a true plasma. The only "plasma like" behaviour the rings exhibit is their succeptibility to magnetic influence, because of the nature of their composition.

What specifically are you attributing to an electric effect and how are you arriving at that conclusion?

I didn't read the Birkland Bio as it was too long but didn't the terella experiments only involve hot plasmas?

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