16 Apr, 2014 · Sascha · Wissenschaft
Unser Sonnensystem kriegt Zuwachs: Am äußersten Rand von Saturns Ringsystem hat sich in den letzten Jahren ein “kleiner” Klumpen gebildet, der zwar gerade erst 800m breit ist, aber bald womöglich ein eigenständiger, kleiner Mond werden könnte. Woah. Space birth!
The half-mile-wide object has been unofficially named “Peggy,” after lead author Murray’s mother-in-law (whose 80th birthday it was on the day he was studying the Cassini NAC images.) Murray first announced the findings on December 10th, 2013 at the AGU 13 meeting in San Francisco.
According to the team’s paper, Peggy’s effects on the A ring has been visible to Cassini since May 2012.
Eventually Peggy may coalesce into a slightly larger moon and move outward, establishing its own orbital path around Saturn. This is how many of Saturn’s other moons are thought to have formed much further back in the planet’s history. Now, its rings having been depleted of moon-stuff, can only create tiny objects like Peggy.
While it is possible that the bright perturbation is the result of an object’s breakup rather than formation, researchers are still looking forward to finding out more about its evolution. (via)