fbpx

Saturn's moon Titan drifting away 100 times faster than thought

Reading Time: 2 minutes
: Saturn’s moon Enceladus

Using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, scientists have discovered that Saturn’s moon Titan is drifting a hundred times faster than previously understood — about 11 centimetres per year.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, may help address an age-old question.

While scientists know that Saturn formed 4.6 billion years ago in the early days of the solar system, there’s more uncertainty about when the planet’s rings and its system of more than 80 moons formed.

Titan is currently 1.2 million kilometres from Saturn. The revised rate of its drift suggests that the moon started out much closer to Saturn, which would mean the whole system expanded more quickly than previously believed.

“This result brings an important new piece of the puzzle for the highly debated question of the age of the Saturn system and how its moons formed,” said lead author of the work Valery Lainey who conducted the research as a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California before joining the Paris Observatory at PSL University.

As the moon orbits, its gravity pulls on the planet, causing a temporary bulge in the planet as it passes.

Over time, the energy created by the bulging and subsiding transfers from the planet to the moon, nudging it farther and farther out.

Our own Moon drifts 3.8 centimeters from Earth each year.

To reach their results about Titan, the scientists mapped stars in the background of Cassini images and tracked Titan’s position.

To confirm their findings, they compared them with an independent dataset: radio science data collected by Cassini.

During 10 close flybys between 2006 and 2016, the spacecraft sent radio waves to Earth.

Scientists studied how the signal’s frequency was changed by their interactions with their surroundings to estimate how Titan’s orbit evolved.

READ ALSO: 2 bn years old Australian meteor crater is oldest known: NASA

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Listen to Indian Link’s NEW Travel Podcast

0
  Indian Link's NEW travel podcast- Feel New In NSW is all about travel and especially made for people who love to explore places in...

It’s National Blood Donor Week

0
  It’s National Blood Donor Week. In our new podcast host Ekta Sharma speaks to Canberra‘s Nidhi Kaushik who runs an amazing donation campaign every year....

Let’s Talk Boosters: Indian Link podcast

0
  In LET'S TALK BOOSTERS, a new podcast series by Indian Link, host Ekta Sharma quizzes Dr Kritman Dhamoon of Blacktown Hospital Sydney about booster...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

neil chandran fraud

Indian-origin entrepreneur charged for $45mn investment fraud

0
  An Indian-origin entrepreneur with ambitious goals of developing virtual-world technologies has been arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in an alleged $45 million investment...
Rajyasree Sen

The Sweet Kitchen: a guide to Indian desserts through the centuries

0
  A food columnist for years at Wall Street Journal India, Rajyasree Sen has written columns on food for a variety of publications and also...
kids in kitchen

4 reasons to bring children into the kitchen

0
  The kitchen is a simple and casual place, but it can also be a hub for developing and enhancing your kid's skills, be it...
whalers way birds

Saying no way to Whaler’s Way

0
  It’s easy to get excited about South Australia’s burgeoning space industry. Supporting a growing space industry, and the vital jobs that come with it,...

Sudarshan Pattnaik creates 125 sand chariots on Rath Yatra eve

0
  On the eve of Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, renowned sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik has created 125 sand chariots and a sand sculpture of...