Saturn's tiny moon Pan looks like a ravioli
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 10, 2017,
Mar 10, 2017, 14:44
Pan orbits Saturn in a gap in the planet's rings and pulls material from them, so the ridge around it likely started accumulating soon after the moon formed, researchers say. It's also shaped like a piece of ravioli.
Newly released photographs of Pan, one of Saturn's moons, have revealed that the tiny satellite bears a striking resemblance to science fiction's imaginings of what an alien spacecraft looks like.
Porco also listed out all the foods viewers think Pan resembles: "After 13 yrs, we've come to expect extreme reactions to our images". "For those who asked: Pan orbits in a ring gap of its own making". On Tuesday, Cassini provided us with yet another gift by snapping super clear pictures of Pan, one of the innermost moons that we know about around Saturn. "Early on & to some degree even now, ring material falls on its equator", she tweeted.
Some said it looks like a walnut, ravioli, a tortellini or maybe it looks like a hamburger. That's how the moon gets its distinctive equatorial bulge.
Despite its size, Pan makes a big impact on Saturn's rings by creating a dark gap known as the Encke Gap.
Until then, Cassini will keep beaming back unbelievable new images of the world and its many moons, revealing a new side to our solar system.
Scientists first predicted Pan's existence in the mid-1980s after NASA's voyager 2 spacecraft discovered unusual waves at the edges of the Encke Gap.
Launched in 1997, Cassini is a joint project between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, with a total of 17 countries involved.
In 2005, the spacecraft deployed its Huygens lander - a tiny probe that detached and parachuted through the cloud tops of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, analysing the atmosphere all the way and eventually delivering the first-ever images from the moon's freezing surface.