Saturn’s rings are the main “attraction” of the planet, thanks to which we recognize the gas giant out of thousands. Unfortunately, Saturn’s rings are gradually disappearing. Scientists have told how many years they may not be at all.
Saturn’s rings consist mainly of particles of ice and dust. According to the data collected by the Cassini space probe launched by NASA to study Saturn, the rings of this gas giant are relatively few years old — they appeared from 10 to 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs were still walking on Earth. On the cosmic timescale, this is very small. Unfortunately, researchers have found that Saturn’s rings are gradually disappearing under the influence of a phenomenon called “ring rain”.
What is Saturn’s Ring Rain
It is worth noting that scientists still do not know exactly why Saturn’s rings were formed at all. But given their “young” age, it can be assumed that the dust and ice particles flying around the giant are fragments of an ancient satellite of Jupiter, which came too close to the planet and was torn into small pieces.
Experts explain that the famous rings of Saturn disappear under the influence of ring rain — a cosmic phenomenon in which the magnetic field of the planet affects the particles of ice and dust that circle around. It turns out that the gas giant sucks water crystals out of the rings and pulls them into the upper layers of its atmosphere. When the particles get too close to the upper part of Saturn’s atmosphere, gravity attracts them, and they evaporate into the clouds of the planet.
But despite this, the rings of Saturn will not disappear at once. Scientists have estimated that the rings will completely dissolve in about 300 million years.