Saturday, February 27, 2010

Prometheus Close Up


Can Black Holes exist hidden within small bodies. Mathematically, the answer is yes. From time to time this blog has wondered about Black Holes within our solar system. Our Cassini spacecraft has captured the closest views yet of Saturn's moon Prometheus. Prometheus and Pandora are called shepherd moons because they appear to hold F Ring in place.

At one time the Rings were thought to exist inside a mathematical "Roche Limit." Outside this limit moons could form, and inside they would break up tidally to form Ring fragments. Prometheus has a density of barely 0.27 g/cc, barely 1/4 that of liquid water. It is odd that objects with a density less than liquid exist inside the Roche Limit, within which liquid objects are not supposed to exist at all.

Prometheus leaves big gaps in the F Ring, causing particles to spiral toward the moon in tight strands. The spiralling strands are indicators of a magnetic field. Presence of a magnetic field from a tiny moon would be indication of a singularity. If Prometheus' 10^17 kg mass contained a 10^11 kg singularity, the moon would not collapse. Presence of a singularity would hold Prometheus together within Roche's Limit. The singularity would rotate within Prometheus, powering a magnetic field. There is far more in the Universe than meets the eye.

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17 Comments:

Blogger macengr said...

Cool - Arthur Clarke may have got it close...

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or the "Roche Limit." could be incorrect.

11:42 AM  
Blogger StevoR said...

Neat if wa-ay out there idea but wouldn't a micro-black hole either evapourate via Hawking radiation or grow and eventually destroy the Prometheus moonlet?

How would such a black hole get there and stay inside Prometheus?

Of course Prometheus is not "liquid" either given the cold.

That said - it is odd that Prometheus can exist inside the Roche limit - could its small mass actually help it stay together where a bigger more massive object would experience greater tidal stresses spread over its greater surface area. I'm guessing that would be the explanation.

Of course I could be wrong! ;-)

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Anonymous Buying Investment Property said...

The most plausible explanation for the existence of Prometheus is that the density estimate is wrong, and the moon is just a hunk of solid ice. The mass estimate (and therefore the density estimate) is very uncertain, and in fact there's good reason to believe that the mass estimate is too low -- the surface of Prometheus is covered with a layer of dust, indicating that it has positive surface gravity after all. (Note that we've been wrong before about this sort of thing -- look at the density estimates for Phobos over the years.

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