Friday, June 16, 2006

Here Be Dragons Part V

In 2005 our Cassini spacecraft made some amazing discoveries about Saturn and her moons. The moon Enceladus has a volcanic "hot spot" centred on its South Pole. The pole, which should be the coldest region on the moon, is the hottest! This spot emits an enormous plume of vapour which maintains Saturn's E Ring. Old theories of radioactive decay or tidal stress can not explain this hot spot.
Enceladus' core and behaviour can be modelled with a central singularity of 10^12 kg. This mass is typical for a primordial singularity. This object consumes only 2.8 kg per year and generates 10^9 watts of radiation. Water and other molecules near this centre are heated to a plasma. Electrons are stripped from atoms, and the resulting ions are drawn into circular orbits. The resulting current generates a magnetic field with the "positive" pole in the South.
Electrons and positively charged ions spiral along magnetic field lines to form bipolar jets, the classic sign of a singularity. The Northern jet is composed of electrons which are absorbed by the moon's interior. More energetic ions of the Southern jet penetrate these layers to warm the South Pole. Escaping ions spiral into space, exactly as observed by Cassini.
Unless Saturn's Rings are replenished, they would decay within 100 million years. Then we would face the anthropic question of why they exist in the right time for humans to view them. Thanks to the Cassini spacecraft, we have witnessed the E Ring being resuppllied from a moon. This observation suggests that similiar processes maintain the rings indefinitely.
Saturn and her Rings have long been objects of wonder and mystery. The processes that build moons and planets have been going on for billions of years. Humans have yet to understand what is before their eyes and beneath their feet. There is more to this solar system than meets the eye.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here be nonsense!

8:02 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

I would have added a pic of the rings of Saturn, but that's just me. - Q

11:36 AM  
Anonymous wheatdogg said...

Again, are we sure we have evidence of such singularities (primordial black holes)? Have we excluded other mechanisms entirely? I am not convinced, Louise, by your saying Old theories of radioactive decay or tidal stress can not explain this hot spot. You need to be more specific, and explain why the theories are inadequate.

5:56 PM  
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Anonymous About Health Blog said...

Thanks to the Cassini spacecraft, we have witnessed the E Ring being resuppllied from a moon.

10:44 PM  

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