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Curated by RSF Research Staff

Solar System: New Insights into Ring System

The mystery of planetary rings may soon be over. From the extensive rings of Saturn to the numerous ring systems found in the universe - their dynamics and evolution have never been fully understood.

Typically, scientists model ring systems utilizing computer simulations, but calculating the trajectories and interactions involved in Saturn’s ring system has proved too difficult. Now a team from Japan have successfully modelled the complete ring system for Chariklo - one of the wandering bodies that exist between Jupiter and Neptune knowns as Centaurs. Chariklo is small enough for the computer to realistically model and has opaque rings like that of Saturn and Uranus – making it the perfect system to study. Already the team have established the size and density of the particles that make up the ring system. It will be interesting to see what new insights are revealed with further investigation.


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