Saturn’s rings—stretching tens of thousands of miles above its equator but no more than a few hundred yards thick—mark an ancient debris field of orbiting ice shards, the remains of a moon-sized object that strayed too close and was torn to pieces by Saturn’s intense gravitation. Astronomers have debated when the rings formed and how long they will stay in orbit. Recent observations from large, land-based telescopes and orbiting spacecraft reveal that Saturn’s rings are remarkably young and are dissipating at a rapid rate. [excerpt]
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Marschall, Laurence. "The Limited Reign of Saturn's Rings." Natural History, (March 2019): p. 6.
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