Friday, November 03, 2006
Flying Rings Around a PlanetA good amount of ring posts on this week's Cassini site, including this image showing those ghostly "spokes" aligned ad siderum. Voyager 1 first spotted the spokes on its 1980 flyby of Saturn. Scientists were completely clueless, as the spokes appeared to violate the laws of physics. Today we suspect they are some interaction between Saturn's magnetic field and superfine particles in the rings. The particles are elevated above the plane of the rings and align with magnetic field lines created by the planet.