Flying ravioli

I have to admit that such a strange shape recalls me some sort of fried egg (and here it seems not just to me…), but when you see it with the deep, black space in background it is worth spending at least a second asking yourself if we are talking about Photoshop.

Well, it seems (I haven’t seen it with my own eyes) that we have new, astonishing close-ups (authored by Cassini, in March 2017, close the end of the mission 😦 ) of Pan. Of course, although it would be nice to image, it is not the god of the wild of Greek mythology, but the bizarre Saturn moon.

Fascinating, absolutely fascinating.

22 x 14 miles wide with a number of small, parallel ridges and groves along the whole frozen surface. Besides these already odd striations also its thin equatorial ridge is so intriguing. It is the second inner moon of the Saturn system, well inside the Encke Gap (the outer A-ring gap). Actually it is right the moon that maintains such a gap which is shared with several diffuse ringlets from which it may still be gathering additional material around its equatorial ridge. It is still unknown if this material (basically ice and debris) is free of moving around the moon surface or it is a compact mass attached to the moon surface.

Moons embedded in the rings, indeed, keep these gaps clear by creating new ringlets and rising a sort of waves of materials out of the ring plane. Once again a weird caused by the most common and mysterious force: the gravity.

WU

 

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