Trouble on Saturn

Chandra images reveal that the rings of Saturn sparkle in X-rays.

One of Chandra’s iconic images – because of its utter absurdity. The sparkling rings of Saturn. I mean, really?

Well, yes. Really.

See, solar X-rays strike the rings, and the rings are made up in such a way that those X-rays may be scattered and then caught by a telescope such as Chandra.

Water molecules can scatter X-rays, for example. They do, too, if given the chance.

There’s lots of water in Saturn’s rings.

Image source
Image credits: X-ray: NASA/MSFC/CXC/A.Bhardwaj et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA

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