Numerical simulations peformed by a group of astrophysicists of the AIM-CEA Saclay Laboratory (University Paris Diderot, CEA, CNRS) and the Nice observatory, based on images collected by the Cassini mission, show that some tiny moons of Saturn are still forming now from material of the Saturn's rings, some billion years after the end of the formation of planets and satellites inside the Solar system. The simulations can also give some clues about the formation of the Earth's moon. These results are published in the June 10th issue of the Nature magazine.
Animation showing the location of the tiny moons of Saturn and the mecanism by which these small satellites can form from the material of the rings, as reproduced by numerical simulations. Copyrights Animation Frédéric Durillon (animea.com)- Images : Cassini NASA/JPL/SSI
Contact : (CEA-AIM)
« Recent origin of Saturn’s moonlets and F-ring from rings viscous spreading»
Sébastien CHARNOZ, Julien SALMON, Aurélien CRID, Nature vol. 465, 10 juin 2010, for an electronic version PDF file
(1) AIM laboratory, Universitey Paris Diderot /CEA/CNRS, (2) University of Cambridge (UK) et Laboratoire Cassiopée, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur
Text : Sébastien Charnoz, Stéphane Laveissière, Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud