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Birth of a New Saturn Moon?

Date: 04/15/2014
Category: Mission News & Science
By: Andy Shaner


Has a new moon formed around Saturn? Possibly. NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known moons.

Images taken by Cassini on April 15, 2013 show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's A ring -- the outermost of the planet's large, bright rings. One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. Scientists also found unusual protuberances in the usually smooth profile at the ring's edge. Scientists believe the arc and protuberances are caused by the gravitational effects of a nearby object.

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