The Cassini Division, a gap in the rings of Saturn, is caused by gravitational pull from Saturn’s moon Mimas. The moon’s gravity affects the tiny particles that make up the rings, creating what looks like empty space. Other divisions in Saturn’s rings are the result of similar interactions with the planet’s moons.Continue Reading
The Cassini Division, at about 3,000 miles or 4,800 kilometers wide, is the largest of several gaps in the rings of Saturn. The area is not completely empty, but the scarcity of ring material makes it look like a dark, empty space.
The Cassini Division marks the division between what scientists call Saturn's A and B rings. Other divisions, created by the gravitational pull of other moons, exist farther out from the planet and are not as wide.Learn more about Astronomy
Although Saturn has seven ring groups, scientists do not know exactly how many rings are around the planet. This is because the ring groups are made up of thousands of smaller rings, according to the Cool Cosmos website published by the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.Full Answer >
According to NASA, scientists have many theories about Saturn's rings, but there is no proven explanation for the rings. The rings are made of debris trapped in the gravitational pull of Saturn, and there are multiple theories as to where this debris originated.Full Answer >
Scientists are not sure how or when Saturn got its rings, according to NASA. One theory states that comets, asteroids and meteoroids collided with Saturn’s moons, and they all shattered into pieces. The broken pieces then spread out and formed rings around Saturn. Another theory states that the rings formed from materials that were left over when Saturn formed.Full Answer >
Giovanni Domenico Cassini was a 17th century astronomer and the first of the Cassini family of astronomers. He discovered four of the moons of Saturn and the makeup of the planet's rings.Full Answer >