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Реакция читателя

2022-08-22 11:11:56

Astronomers explain Jupiter's lack of rings

Астрономы объяснили отсутствие колец у Юпитера

Despite Jupiter's enormous size, its ring system is quite weak and almost invisible. Scientists attribute this to the destructive effects of massive satellites, which hinder the accumulation of matter in orbit.

Jupiter is noticeably more massive than Saturn and could hold an even more impressive ring system. Plus, it's closer to Earth, and if Jupiter had such rings, it would be much better visible. What exactly is depriving us of this cosmic spectacle, scientists at the University of California, Riverside have found out. The simulations showed that Jupiter's large satellites prevent the formation of a stable ring system.

In principle, Jupiter has rings, but they are nowhere near as grand as those of its neighbour Saturn. Even noticed them for the first time managed to only after the Jupiter system was visited by the space probe Voyager 1, and from Earth they can see only some very powerful telescopes. Recall that a new space telescope James Webb captured them the other day. The mass of Jupiterian rings is estimated in the range from hundreds of millions to tens of trillions of tons, while Saturn, despite its smaller size, they are much more massive.

The rings of Saturn are composed mainly of water ice particles while the weak rings of Jupiter are thought to be formed by dust blowing from the surface of its satellites. The satellites, however, are what prevent the formation of a more prominent ring system. Jupiter has more than 80 known, including the four largest, discovered by Galileo: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Computer simulations recently carried out by Stephen Kane and Zhexing Li have shown that the gravity of Galileo's satellites disrupts the stability of the orbits where the ring's matter could accumulate, sending it either to the planet itself or to one of its satellites.

"We found that Jupiter's Galilean satellites, some of the largest in the solar system, are rapidly destroying the massive ring system even during the formation phase," says Professor Kane. - Massive planets have massive satellites and they strip it of its rings."

Scientists now plan to do the same for Uranus, another giant of the solar system, which also has its own ring system, but is extremely weak. The planet's own axis of rotation is heavily tilted away from the equator's plane, moving virtually sideways. Some hypotheses attribute this to a powerful collision that Uranus has experienced in the past. The impact may have thrown into orbit the material from which its small rings were formed. Perhaps the simulations will better clarify the details of that long ago cosmic catastrophe.


Encyclopaedic reference
Юпитер - пятая планета от Солнца, крупнейшая в Солнечной системе
Космос - относительно пустые участки Вселенной, которые лежат вне границ атмосфер небесных тел.
Сатурн - шестая планета по удалённости от Солнца и вторая по размерам планета в Солнечной системе после Юпитера. Сатурн классифицируется как газовая планета-гигант. Сатурн назван в честь римского бога земледелия


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