Bye Bye Saturn’s Rings


g. cruz

Saturn’s magnificent rings are fading – thankfully, slowly. 

The visible process of “ring rain,” which occurs when planets like Saturn shed its distinctive rings over billions of years, is probably one of the most important things we know about this mystery planet and its beautiful accessories, according to The Atlantic. 

While the rings around the gaseous planet appear to be constant to us on Earth, recent analysis of footage from NASA’s Cassini mission suggests that they may be “cosmically young,” appearing between 10 and 100 million years ago, while dinosaurs were still roaming the Earth — a mere blink of an eye in geological or cosmic timescales.

According to the story, scientists are still unsure why Saturn’s rings developed in the first place, however one popular idea is that if they are as new as they appear, they are the result of one of Saturn’s earlier moons straying too close to the planet and shattering into so much cosmic shrapnel.

The fact of the matter is that the rings’ demise will most likely take around 300 million years. Nonetheless, it’s “very, very sad,” as Japanese Space Agency planetary scientist James O’Donoghue told The Atlantic, that something as seemingly indestructible as Saturn’s rings are fairly new on a cosmic scale, and that they’ll one day be gone.