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Re: Planet X: Moon SWIRL

Bill Nelson wrote:
> Nancy Lieder <> wrote:
> >     comfortable distance from each other to avoid
> >     collision, as the repulsion force is in operation
> >     between the moons, which are of relatively equal
> >     size, too.
> You mean like the rings of Saturn, minute compared to the
> even the smallest of the major moons? The major moons themselves
> vary by a factor 10 in size and 4 orders of magnitude (10,000
> times) in mass?
> Or the major moons of Jupiter - which vary in size by a factor of
> 250+ in radius and 7 orders of magnitude (10,000,000 times) in mass?
> --
> Bill Nelson   (

Remember a few (OK, so more than a few) years back when the Voyager
spacecraft were still producing "new" science data?  (Not that they have
stopped, just slowed down A LOT.)  They produced the first close-up
picture of Saturn's rings.

And guess what?

It turns out that the rings of Saturn are not simply composed of
billions of little bits, each of which is in its own circular
trajectory.  It turns out that the rings were actually *braids* of
billions of litle bits.  The bits wound around each other like a
gigantic DNA molecule or rope.  I remember at the time that the
astronomers and such were stunned because this did not fit their
understanding of gravity.  However, the braided construction of the
rings came as a shock and to my limited knowledge, remains unexplained.

Perhaps the ring itself is gravitationally bound to Saturn, but the
little rocks and pebbles and such that make up each ring are bound to
each other in a attraction/repusion dance which revolves around a mutual
center of gravity.  Over time, these rotating groups synchronize because
it is the lowest energy condition and form braids.  The center of
gravity of the braid is what orbits Saturn.  This self stabilizing dance
(attraction/repulsion) would also explain why there could be some kind
of sorting function by type and this would explain why the rings of
saturn are distinctly different colors shapes and sizes.

So do you care to illuminate the masses as to why Saturn's rings are
braided?  If you can explain why the rings are braided, could not that
basic explanation also translate to moons of our favorite unknown
The Small Kahuna