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Infographic: A New Moon is Born?
Infographic: A New Moon is Born? (click to enlarge)

Infographic: A New Moon is Born?
Date: 15 Apr 2014

A commotion at the very edge of Saturn's outer bright ring appears to be associated with the birth of a small, icy infant moon.

  • NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been documenting the birth process, which may demonstrate how many of Saturn's other moons formed.
  • The object, nicknamed "Peggy," appears to be disturbing nearby ring particles as it moves to exit the rings. In time, it may assume a place in orbit among Saturn's 62 other known moons.
  • "Peggy" appears to be about the size of three soccer fields. It has gathered an entourage of particles that stick together in a bright arc about 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and about 6 miles (10 miles) wide.
  • Scientists have long theorized that our solar system's planets formed in a similar fashion from a ring-like disk around our early sun.

"The discovery and dynamical evolution of an object at the outer edge of Saturn's A ring," Murray, C.D., Cooper, N.J., Williams, G.A., Attree, N.O., Boyer, J.S., Icarus (2014).

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Last Updated: 16 Jun 2014