More on Rhea’s rings

By Phil Plait | March 8, 2008 4:00 pm

I wrote about the discovery of possible rings around Saturn’s moon Rhea last week… and now Emily has the actual data. I’ll say, to my eye — and I’ve examined a lot of plots like that — that’s pretty convincing evidence that something is going on. I’d like to see corroborating data, but this is certainly enough to be interesting.

In the plot on Emily’s page, the dips in the number of electons counted shows where the rings may be. They also have a diagram where the rings are shown as circles, and the fit isn’t great. I wonder if anyone tried fitting similar ellipses? I’ll have to poke around and find out.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, NASA

Comments (7)

  1. Yoshi_3up

    “’ll say, to my eye — and I’ve examined a lot of plots like that — that’s pretty convincing evidence that something is going on.”

    Wow, you sound like a conspiracy theorist :P

  2. autumn

    I’ve examined this plot a lot (the same as examining lots of plots, right?), and to me it is obviously a very slow controlled demolition.

  3. Those electons, always in the way of science! ;-)

    (especially now, that electrons have been “filmed” :-)

  4. Wildride

    Electons: Like electrons, but way heavier. Equivalent to the metric electonnes.

  5. John H

    I see that Emily reports that although Rhea possibly has rings Tethys definitely does not. I wonder whether Dione will be found to have rings.

  6. It’s hard to believe Rhea could have rings that weren’t distorted hopelessly out of shape by tidal influence by the other moons. If it turns out that it does have rings, I’ll bet you almost anything that they are recent — that some tiny moon shattered within the last million years or so, or even less. Or maybe two collided.

  7. PL

    John H: “I see that Emily reports that although Rhea possibly has rings Tethys definitely does not.”

    I don’t think anyone can claim that, and that’s not how I interpret Emily’s report… just that there’s no evidence for rings in Tethys data.

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