We know why Jupiter doesn’t have Saturn’s rings

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[EN VIDÉO] Saturn: the giant with rings of ice and dust
Embark on a journey to meet the second largest planet in the solar system: Saturn. A gas giant is surrounded by a large number of shiny rings that do not leave anyone indifferent when observed. Learn about the world of Saturn, which has been closely explored for 13 years by the Cassini probe.

it is inastronomermathematician and physical Dutch Christian Higgins (1629-1695) that we owe a discovery to Saturn’s rings in 1655. To tell the truth, it has been well observed in astronomical telescopes since then Galileo But no one until Huygens had clear observations highlighting their nature and it was also he who derived from his interpretation of the existence of rings around Saturn a verifiable prediction that convinces his colleagues: the observation at the edge of these rings in 1671.

Until the 1970s, only Saturn’s rings were known, but in 1979 the Voyager 1 probe revealed rings Jupiter. In 1989, the probe Voyager 2 It will make it possible to film episodes Neptune whose existence was proven in 1984 thanks to the monitoring programhide From the stars presented by Andre Braich and colleagues, Bruno Siccardi and Françoise Roques at Paris Meudon Observatory, and produced by Patrice Bouchet, Reinhold Hafner and Jean Manfreud at La Silla Observatory (ESO).

In 1995, on the Cassiopée program, André Brahic and his collaborator Cecile Ferrari told us about the discovery of the rings of planets in the solar system. © Jean-Pierre Luminet

In fact, it rings aroundUranus It was actually discovered by accident on March 10, 1977 by James L. Elliott, Edward W. Dunham and Douglas J. Gerard P. Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO; in French “Gerard P. Kuiper Airborne Observatory”) which was a project of NASA To develop research in infrared astronomy.

Jovian tension rings are constantly fed with dust

But back to the rings of Jupiter. Unlike Saturn’s, the Jovian ring system is weak and composed mostly of dust rather than ice, and these reasons explain why it took so long to discover it. It is divided into several episodes: the aura, the main episode, and the Gossamer episodes. In particular, it has been studied using telescope Hubble and sensors Galileo And the Juno.

We do not yet know the origin of Saturn’s rings, nor when they are dated. This is an open topicAnalogously, we wondered why Jupiter doesn’t have a similar ring system, which is slightly larger than Saturn and larger than Saturn. Two astronomers from the University of California Riverside in the USA presented arXiv An article in which they propose an answer to this riddle.

In a statement from the university, one of the authors of the article said, Stephen KingExplain that who – which [l]We were so upset that Jupiter doesn’t have the most amazing rings that would put Saturn in such a disgrace. If Jupiter had them, they would appear brighter to us, because the planet is much closer to Saturn. This prompted the researcher to wonder if Jupiter had rings in the past, rings that would have disappeared due to the instability of celestial mechanics with gravitational disturbances, tidal forces so is echo gravity.

The Computers Modern improvements and simulations of consequences of lawsAstrophysics That they let it so was exploited by Stephen Kane and doctoral student Zhexing Li to find out for sure. Therefore, the two men sought the effects made by the four moons Jupiter Principles, IoEurope , Ganymede And Callisto has rings around Jupiter.

The results weren’t long in coming, as Kane again explained in a press release: We discovered that there are Galilean moons of Jupiter, one of which is our largest moon solar systemIt will quickly destroy any large rings that may form “.

For this reason, the rings of Jupiter that we know about are not very massive, and it is believed that they are regularly supplied with dust by impacts of micrometeorites on other moons smaller than Jupiter, such as Thebes, Amalthea and especially Adrastea and Metis.

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