Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's happening on Saturn???

Astronomy is science.

There is no better place to let your imagination run wild than in space. So when I came across this picture taken by the Cassini spacecraft during its exploration of Saturn, I wondered. Something is piercing the F ring of Saturn.

The blog post (on Discover) where I saw it was titled "Like the fist of an angry god," and that is a great place to begin to imagine what is really going on.

"I mean, seriously: what the hell happened here?"

I'm not a big fan of science fiction, but even I could make a story out of this, as the Saturnians might be sending a probe to try to figure out why the earthlings are destroying our own planet.

Or, as the "bad astronomer" speculates,

"Is this object on an orbit that intersects the rings so that it plunges up through them and then again down into them every time it circles Saturn? If so, how does that affect the rings overall, especially over millions of years?

"Or was this a singular event, some small object whose orbit was affected by a nearby massive moon, changing its path, putting it on a collision course with Saturn’s mighty and vast ring system?"

Here's a zoom of the event.

One of the comments on The bad astronomer suggests, "Fist? No, more likely evidence of Thor’s hammer being thrown around."

Open the link and read the post and comments. And wonder.