Nov. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Scientists speculate the smudges that sometimes appear in
Saturn's rings, then quickly disappear, could be caused by massive strokes of
lightning or meteor strikes.
|Saturn has a newly discovered ring, a faint
trail of particles just visible in between some of its better-known rings,
NASA said on Tuesday.(File Photo: Saturn)Photo Gallery
The idea was proposed by Geraint Jones of the Max
Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany,
according to Nature Magazine.
The report says "If the theory is right, these faint
features are the signature of awesome events: lightning strokes ten thousand
times more energetic than those on Earth, releasing beams of electrons that
surge up from Saturn's surface to whack into the rings and blast out jets of
electrically charged dust."
As for the smudges being the result of meteor
strikes, Jones says: "It's implausible that several meteorites would strike the
rings in the same place in close succession."
The reports are very speculative because no one
has seen the types of storms on Saturn. But the idea of massive electron
beams rising from the planet's surface is reminiscent of science fiction
novels and would be truly amazing to see.
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