Cassini probe finds vast void between Saturn's rings

May 6, 2017
The 22-foot-tall (6.7 meter) Cassini spacecraft launched in 1997 and began orbiting Saturn in 2004 and has discovered there is little between the planet and its rings

The unmanned Cassini spacecraft, after completing two passes in the vast, unexplored area between Saturn's rings has discovered not much else there, researchers at NASA said.

Scientists have been surprised to find that not all that much—not even space dust—lies between Saturn's iconic rings.

"The region between the rings and Saturn is 'the big empty,' apparently," said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, after the probe's first pass.

The rings themselves are made of fast-moving particles of ice and .

The 22-foot-tall (6.7 meter) Cassini spacecraft launched in 1997 and began orbiting Saturn in 2004.

Cassini made a first pass to explore what lies between the rings in late April and a second one on May 2, at a speed of about 77,000 miles per hour relative to the planet.

The gap between the rings and the top of Saturn's atmosphere is about 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers).

Cassini is expected to make a total of 22 dives between the rings and the planet before making a death plunge into the gas giant in September.

Cassini is a 20-year-old joint mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

Explore further: Cassini spacecraft dives between Saturn and its rings, back in contact with Earth

Related Stories

Image: Saturn's B-ring close-up

March 20, 2017

This image shows the incredible detail at which the international Cassini spacecraft is observing Saturn's rings of icy debris as part of its dedicated close 'ring grazing' orbits.

Recommended for you

Dawn of a galactic collision

December 14, 2017

A riot of colour and light dances through this peculiarly shaped galaxy, NGC 5256. Its smoke-like plumes are flung out in all directions and the bright core illuminates the chaotic regions of gas and dust swirling through ...

32 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

cantdrive85
1.6 / 5 (14) May 06, 2017
Electromagnetism-2; gravity-0...

No matter how one wishes it to be true, gravity is not driving this phenomenon. Well, I might be wrong there. According to the AGWites, all one needs to do is wish it to be true.
https://phys.org/...ate.html
""I believe," while sedately turning around and around, widdershins."
LOL, that's funny right there.
baudrunner
not rated yet May 06, 2017
just another example of quantum dynamics: the sun's dense core spinning in a different direction from the surrounding material; the clear color bands in the visible part of the optical spectrum; fractional distillation; notes in a scale.. the list is endless.
Da Schneib
4.6 / 5 (20) May 06, 2017
@cantthink69, the idea that the gravity of a massive gas giant planet doesn't affect the dynamics of its rings is not even wrong. It's so stupid that there isn't even a word to describe its stupidity in the English language.
Dingbone
May 06, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
cantdrive85
1.8 / 5 (10) May 06, 2017
the idea that the gravity of a massive gas giant planet doesn't affect the dynamics of its rings is not even wrong. It's so stupid that there isn't even a word to describe its stupidity in the English language.

If there isn't a word that describes your inability to comprehend someone should contemplate one. I ask, where in this collection of words does it say gravity has no effect?
gravity is not driving this phenomenon.

Hmmm. Nowhere. You like to make stuff up to make yourself feel starter, don't you? Put another feather in your cap for winning another strawman argument. Way to go, bub.
Dingbone
May 06, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (11) May 06, 2017
How exactly does gravity create all of this substructure? The geometry is just not quite there, and attempts to force-fit the idea will surely end up at an incoherent mess.

It's unfortunate for all of society that the culture of science today is so focused on proving the textbook ideologies that such questions seem to go completely unasked and un-thought. Science-as-thought becomes lost in the confusion of science-as-knowledge, and it's happening at a time when we have more food for thought than we've ever historically had.

God forbid that people might THINK about the observations and arrive at their own conclusions.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (11) May 07, 2017
@hannes/reeve the eu pseudoscience idiot cult member
How exactly does gravity create all of this substructure?
try starting here: https://ocw.mit.e...ophysics

the rest of your post is strawman idiocy based solely upon your delusional belief that your eu cult has factual scientific physics being ignored by modern scientists

this is why pseudoscience isn't a victimless crime: https://phys.org/...mes.html

when you promote pseudoscience over factual evidence based science you promote stupidity

and before you whine about this again: science is, by definition, skepticism wrapped in investigation attempting to define reality - so your BS argument about teaching delusional falsified bullsh*t to laymen without also teaching them *why* said falsified pseudoscience is crap is nothing more than your justifying religion as legitimate and equivalent to science
cgsperling
4.7 / 5 (12) May 07, 2017
@HannesAlfven
.... God forbid that people might THINK about the observations and arrive at their own conclusions.


So, thinking and concluding is your idea of science? I think you left out a few steps.
cgsperling
4.3 / 5 (6) May 07, 2017
@HannesAlfven
How exactly does gravity create all of this substructure?


See part 3 of this explanation:
https://caps.gsfc...d/rings/
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (4) May 07, 2017
See part 3 of this explanation:
https://caps.gsfc...d/rings/

That is just a bunch of hand wavey nonsense and in no way explains anything of substance.
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) May 07, 2017
@nazi sympathizing conspiracy theorist eu pseudoscience cult idiot
That is just a bunch of hand wavey nonsense and in no way explains anything of substance
1- that defines every eu post here
2- except for this:
Beatty, J. Kelly, Collins, Carolyn, and Chaiken, Andrew. (1999) The New Solar System (4th ed.) (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.)
Burns, Joseph A., Hamilton, Douglas P., and Showalter, Mark R. (2002) "Bejeweled Worlds". Scientific American, February 2002, pp. 64-73.
Elliot, James, and Kerr, Richard. (1984) Rings. (MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.)
Lunine, Jonathan I. "Saturn at Last!" (2004) Scientific American, June 2004, pp. 56-63.
Esposito, Larry. (2006) Planetary Rings. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.)
Fridman, A.M., and Gorkavyi, N.N. (1994) Physics of Planetary Rings. (Springer, Berlin.)
Gehrels, Tom, and Matthews, Mildred Shapley (Eds.). (1984) Saturn. (University of Arizona Press, Tucson.)
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) May 07, 2017
@nazi sympathizing conspiracy theorist eu pseudoscience cult idiot cont'd
so, if we look at what the above evidence based upon known physics, measurement, observation

then we look at the supporting evidence from places like MIT or PPPL (see MIT link above, then go here: http://www.pppl.gov/ )

Then we look at your evidence which i shall post below...
gravity is not driving this phenomenon. Well, I might be wrong there
lets see
according to the following link ( http://www.auburn...ion.html ) you're providing opinion and false claims, especially given that your claims are directly refuted by the overwhelming evidence

and pushing hannes/reeve for more gish-gallop will not help you
only evidence will

and to date, your evidence amounts to "because some idiot who doesn't know sh*t about astrophysics said so" and so you believe

notice anything?
yep
you're in a religion (actually, a cult)
rossim22
1.8 / 5 (10) May 07, 2017
The EU paradigm is not a conspiracy theory in which mainstream scientists are ignoring the electrical influences directly observed throughout the local and distant environments. The problem is that the mainstream is so strongly attached to their gravity-dominated dogma that they'd rather invent new and unpredicted physics (DM, DE, black holes, etc) with the sole purpose of keeping the current paradigm afloat. It's accidental pseudoscience fueled by confirmational bias.
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) May 07, 2017
@rossim
The EU paradigm is not a conspiracy theory
i beg to differ- any belief system that ignores empirical evidence for the statements of it's leadership is a religious org

and any group from the org that makes statements like "The problem is that the mainstream is so strongly attached to their gravity-dominated dogma" without comprehending the scientific method and how it works is ignorant to boot
mainstream scientists are ignoring the electrical influences directly observed throughout the local and distant environments
not one of the idiot eu cult members has ever been able to demonstrate this, so how can you state all MS scientists are ignoring it?
because they're not saying what you want them to say?

again, that is religion, not science
The problem is that the mainstream is so strongly attached to their gravity-dominated dogma
no, MS scientists follow the evidence
and the one thing the eu cult can't provide is the empirical evidence

2Bcont'd
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) May 07, 2017
@rossim the eu cultist cont'd
that they'd rather invent new and unpredicted physics (DM, DE, black holes, etc)
1- DM is a placeholder name for observed phenomenon
2- black holes are not invented
3- here is a link that not only debunks your anti-BH bullsh*t, but also your "ignoring electrical influence" bullsh*t: https://arxiv.org...12.01220

with the sole purpose of keeping the current paradigm afloat
science follows the evidence
eu follows it's leadership
we can prove that one with your eu electric sun bullsh*t
or your comments above
It's accidental pseudoscience fueled by confirmational bias
[sic] that comment defines the eu to a "T"

i will say this again: until the eu can provide the same level of evidence that MS does, it's pseudoscience

it is also a religion considering you can't make predictions, you can't follow the evidence, and you refuse to accept the evidence refuting your own BS
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) May 07, 2017
"The rings themselves are made of fast-moving particles of ice and space debris."

-Closeup please.
rossim22
1.5 / 5 (6) May 07, 2017
CaptainStumpy you completely misread my comment please take another look at what I wrote.
"The EU paradigm is NOT a conspiracy theory in which mainstream scientists are ignoring the electrical influences..."

That's a classic misunderstanding of you blind mainstream defenders. It's no hope in influencing you but... DM is a 'placeholder' yeah sure. We observe galaxies rotating too fast for the gravity of all directly observed matter inside to hold together. To fix this one problem an entirely new realm of physics is invented which describes a "DM" that doesn't emit or absorb and radiation and interacts with normal matter ONLY with gravitation. OR... galaxies are not held together by solely gravitational forces.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (7) May 07, 2017
"The EU paradigm is NOT a conspiracy theory in which mainstream scientists are ignoring the electrical influences..."
but it is a conspiracy theory in which the predominant claim from every eu idiot is that mainstream scientists are ignoring the electrical influences

i mean... for the love of spaghetti; just read the last 2 pages of posts from cantdrive or hannes/reeve and you will see that the predominant claim of the eu is that MS are ignoring the electrical influences
That's a classic misunderstanding of you blind mainstream defenders
so... you don't like those who defend mainstream
is it because mainstream requires things like evidence?
is that why you dislike those ho support MS?
It's no hope in influencing you but
you're wrong
unlike you, i can change my mind based upon the evidence

that is the very definition of mainstream science, BTW

2Bcont'd
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) May 07, 2017
@eu cultist propagandist cont'd
DM is a 'placeholder' yeah sure
here is an analogy to explain

the wind or air: you can't see it unless there is something which the wind or air can affect
by definition you must make observations of things around it that are being influenced by the wind or air

nowadays we have methods to directly sample the air but this was not the case just a mere few hundred years ago...

the same thing applies to DM
we see the affects of it's gravitational interaction and we labeled these effects with a placeholder until we can directly measure it

so how do we know it isn't the EM forces as stated repeatedly by the eu cult idiots?
because we can measure those, we know the limitations and range of said forces, and most importantly, we can calculate the power of the force required to actually do the work observed

that is how science works
PTTG
May 07, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
rossim22
1.8 / 5 (5) May 07, 2017
Your analogy is awful because air, in your context, is only invisible. More so, you would first predict that there must be air because we can breathe in it, the wind blows, clouds float in it, etc. Dark matter was never needed for any reason in any field of science ever EXCEPT only to provide a fix for one observation, that being the exceptional rotational velocity of galaxies. Due to that one observation, you have to assume there must be a new sort of matter that behaves entirely different than anything ever observed on earth or in space with new chemistry and new atomic particles and new energies. That is only because of the confirmational bias that surround GR. The electromagnetic forces are all observed, they're just incorrectly screened through the bias and are given gravitational sources.
zz5555
5 / 5 (6) May 07, 2017
Dark matter was never needed for any reason in any field of science ever EXCEPT only to provide a fix for one observation, that being the exceptional rotational velocity of galaxies.

I was under the impression that there are a number of observations that suggest the existence of dark matter, e.g. https://medium.co...bd606ba8 .
Due to that one observation, you have to assume there must be a new sort of matter that behaves entirely different than anything ever observed on earth or in space with new chemistry and new atomic particles and new energies.

Actually, there are known particles that behave much like dark matter: neutrinos. My understanding is that neutrinos are too energetic to be dark matter, but if there is one known particle that doesn't play well with photons, why would it be surprising that there's a 2nd particle that behaves similarly?
rossim22
3 / 5 (2) May 08, 2017
zz5555 I'm talking about when dark matter was first hypothesized it was to answer the uniform and elevated gravitational rotation conundrum. No experiment of any kind was pointing to the existence of it. Since then, dark matter has been added to the confirmational bias, it has still never been directly observed yet its existence is typically considered fact only because GR is now reliant upon it. Without DM then GR as we know it fails, which is the only reason it's thought to exist now. It's very circular and a phenomenal example of an ad hoc theory.
rossim22
2.3 / 5 (3) May 08, 2017
Mainstream physicists are not ignoring the EM physics in the cosmos, they just don't think anything is wrong with the current dogma. To them it's ok that everything we can physically observe is now only 4% of the universe. To them it's ok that dark matter can be plugged in everywhere GR fails because they'd rather not have GR fail. To me, I see a picture where everything we see and their motions can be attributable to the physics we already have and understand, only it needs to be applied to a grander scale. The endless search for dark matter and dark energy exists only to confirm what we "already know" but how dare anyone suggest another answer. This is not science.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) May 08, 2017
@rossim
Your analogy is awful because air, in your context, is only invisible
if taken in context with history it is very relevant
More so, you would first predict that there must be air because we can breathe in it, the wind blows, clouds float in it, etc
again - observational evidence of air much like current observational evidence of DM
That is only because of the confirmational bias that surround GR
[sic] there is no confirmation bias around GR
there is, however, a sh*tload of validated experimental evidence
so you're back to making false claims, like the following
Mainstream physicists are not ignoring the EM physics in the cosmos, they just don't think anything is wrong with the current dogma
this is called conspiracist ideation
essentially you're saying that astrophysicists from every culture & nation are ignoring relevant evidence

this should be easy for you to prove - so where is your peer reviewed study?

.

.

ah... right

[crickets]
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (6) May 08, 2017
Jeez, there's no dark matter in Saturn's rings (or anyway not enough to matter). And anybody arguing with Cassini's findings about the gap between the rings and Saturn is a plain crank. This is observational data, not theory. Either the high-gain antenna comes out full of holes, indicating there's something in the gap, or it comes out OK indicating the gap is a high grade vacuum. There's not a lot of wriggle room here. Sorry if it makes your crank gravity claims look stupid, get over it.
Dingbone
May 08, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Zzzzzzzz
5 / 5 (4) May 08, 2017
when you promote pseudoscience over factual evidence based science you promote stupidity


There is a lot of that going around these days....its quite popular in the USA currently
ILLUMINATI_LUCIFER
not rated yet May 09, 2017
What I find odd is that a magnet is diamagenetic, meaning it weakly repels water. If the earth contains an iron core that's electromagnetic, wouldn't that mean the water would have been repelled into space? What's keeping all that water here?

The explanation of gravity is an ambiguous one as well. Perhaps gravity is the inverse of a magnetic field? A reverse magnet? A blackhole-ish field? Whereas a magnetic field radiates outward, gravity radiates inward?

I saw a video where astronauts spun a spherical water in microgravity, after being spun for a while the dense particles didn't go to the center of the sphere, it went to the edges of the sphere, while the air bubbles (less dense gas) went towards the center of the sphere.

Color me ironic, but how does matter compress itself from a gas? Does a gas magically attract each other and compresses into a liquid and solid or is it something else? We already know that if we compress a gas, it heats up, so what gives?
ILLUMINATI_LUCIFER
not rated yet May 09, 2017
Everyone is using "dark matter" as a placeholder for an unexplained phenomenon. First, dark matter is nothing special. It's black, meaning it doesn't reflect "visible" light, that's it. It's just matter that's so black that it blends in with the void of space according to a primitive human's eyes and their RGB cones/rods. Dark matter? Not impressive. Might as well call it black matter.

Now who in here can find a black sun/star, no, not black holes, black stars, unless.....black holes are simply black stars in disguise? Think about it, black holes are dipole spheres, and the only reason "Hawking radiation" escapes via the opposing poles is because that's where the weakest magnetic field points are.

Now hold that thought and imagine aurora borealis happening at the poles on earth. Also, we can see and imagine a sphere, but no one can imagine an invisible inverse-poled magnetic vortex. Also, black holes emit light, just not visible ones. Humans can see in the range of only 340 THz.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) May 09, 2017
It's just matter that's so black that it blends in with the void of space

Well, no. Because in that case we'd see an absorption (i.e. dark matter would look like there's a black nebula between us and anything beyond it)

Dark matter doesn't mean that it's black. 'Dark' means that it doesn't interact with light (much...just like some other stuff like neutrinos). Big difference.

"Hawking radiation" escapes via the opposing poles is because that's where the weakest magnetic field points are.

The poles is where the field is the strongest. That's why they're called poles. Hawking radiation has nothing to do with the magnetic field.

Also, black holes emit light, just not visible ones.

I think you don't really understand what 'black' means in a scientific context.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.