Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It came from beneath.

Like the fist of an angry god (Bad Astronomy)





It's not exactly clear what's going on here, even in this slightly zoomed shot. But 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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