Student Colloquium, Esben Bidstrup: The Age and Mysteries of Saturn's Rings
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Supervisor: Simon Albrecht
For millenia humans have watched the night sky and observed the movements of the planets. In more recent times, we have been able to closely observe the planets with advanced spacecraft. Recently, the Cassini-Huygens probe has extensively explored the Saturn system, and revealed that its beautiful ring system, previously thought to be an old feature stemming from the planets formation in the early Solar System, may in fact not have been there when dinosaurs walked the earth. What are the rings of Saturn made of? How did they form? And did they form recently?
In this colloquium I will explore the theories regarding formation and age of Saturns rings, starting with a historical perspective on how we have studied and understood Saturn in the past. I will then explore how data from Cassini has upset our theories, and created new debate about what was previously thought to be understood.