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Saturn’s rings, lunar shreds?

Saturn's rings seen by the Cassini spacecraft.

According to the model developed by an American team, a grand game of cosmic billiards could explain both Saturn’s rings and the current tilt of the planet’s axis of rotation. The origin of this obliquity of nearly 27 degrees was poorly understood and these researchers, to justify it, stage in Science of September 16 of the complex interactions between Saturn, Titan (the largest of its satellites) and the planet Neptune. Saturn would have tilted more and more under the effect of these interactions, but the phenomenon would have been interrupted a hundred million years ago following the destruction of a hypothetical moon of the planet. The debris of the latter would then have created the famous Saturnian rings. This scenario assumes that the formation of said rings is very recent, while planetary scientists are divided on the subject, with some estimating that the rings are 4.5 billion years old, the same age as the planet.

Photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft on July 29, 2011 showing Saturn, its rings and five of its moons.

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