Saturn's rings

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db48x db48x's picture
Saturn's rings
If you're the type that is bothered by small details, you may not want to read page 102, where it says that Saturn's rings vary in thickness from 100 to 1000 meters. In truth, the rings are startlingly thin — ranging from 5 to 30 meters — with most rings sitting at just 10 meters thick. Also, if I recall correctly, the outermost ring is several hundred thousand kilometers wide. Of course, it's practically invisible in most photographs. It's the oddball of the group; the one that's not like the others. Oh well, it's a great book and setting in most every other respect.
Admini Admini's picture
I'm not at all sure that

I'm not at all sure that this is a mistake. Of google's top 5 links for "size of saturn's rings":

1 km ; http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/planets/saturn/
10 m ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_Saturn
1.5 km ; http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/saturn/saturn_rings.html&edu=high
10s or 100s of meters ; http://solar-system-astronomy.suite101.com/article.cfm/saturns_ring_system
A few hundred meters ; http://www.astronomynotes.com/solarsys/s16.htm

So is 10m the end-all be-all answer?
jackgraham jackgraham's picture
Crap.
Yeah, I fucked this one up. My apologies. Going back to my research, looks like I misread a table in The New Solar System detailing the thickness of the gas & ice giant ring systems. According to this, some of them are on the order of 100 m thick; my error came in when a decimal point moved in my head somewhere. :)

One of the challenges of writing fictional material based in our solar system is that we're now getting back new data on an almost monthly basis that changes our view of various celestial objects. Example: Enceladus. I describe it as being pretty much an ice ball, but just a few months ago, I read an article in Science & Avenir about how they've now detected geysers and suspect there could be a subsurface mantle of liquid water like on Europa. The Gazetteer had already been in the can for a year at that point, and by the time I read the article, the book was off to the printer.

So I'll have to put both of those on the to-fix list for the Outer System book.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!   http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham
Lucidshifter Lucidshifter's picture
We forgive.
HA dude come on... It's okay.
puke puke's picture
yeah, really. they might
yeah, really. they might actually BE 1000m thick by this time next year, at the rate we're re-evaluating the solar system. we only discoverd Janus back in the late 80s, and its one of the wierdest things in the solar system.
Admini Admini's picture
Yes, shame on you. ;-)

Yes, shame on you. ;-)
Bloodwork Bloodwork's picture
Re: Saturn's rings
But what about the ring of... Uranus?
That which doesn't kill you usually succeeds on the second attempt.
Asimovian Asimovian's picture
Re: Crap.
jackgraham wrote:
The Gazetteer had already been in the can for a year at that point, and by the time I read the article, the book was off to the printer. So I'll have to put both of those on the to-fix list for the Outer System book.
What Gazeteer? What Outer System book? These sound great!
Octomorph Octomorph's picture
Re: Crap.
I think he means the Gazeteer section of the Core EP book. Sounds like the Outer System book would complement the scheduled Sunward (Inner system) release.
Asimovian Asimovian's picture
Re: Crap.
Oh - forgot. I hope these items are fleshed out with real astronomical data.
puke puke's picture
Re: yeah, really. they might
puke wrote:
yeah, really. they might actually BE 1000m thick by this time next year, at the rate we're re-evaluating the solar system.
even sooner than i thouht: http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/space/10/07/space.saturn.ring/index.html
Cardul Cardul's picture
Re: yeah, really. they might
puke wrote:
puke wrote:
yeah, really. they might actually BE 1000m thick by this time next year, at the rate we're re-evaluating the solar system.
even sooner than i thouht: http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/space/10/07/space.saturn.ring/index.html
And that Saturn now has a *SECOND* ring plane!