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International Edition Winners 2009: Saudi Arabia (9-12 grade)

International Edition Winners 2009: Saudi Arabia (9-12 grade)


Ashaab Alam
Saturn and Rings
Saturn and Rings
Ashaab Alam

12th Grade; International Indian School

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia



" That is Saturn and Its Rings would hand us the best scientific result and would provide us with information about the origin and the most beautiful creations of the universe.

The rings of Saturn are most extensive planetary ring system of any planet in the Solar System. The rings are further divided into categories. The densest parts of the Saturnian ring system are the A and B Rings. In fact B is the brightest of all the rings of saturn. The Satarnian rings consist of countless number of small particles, ranging in size from nanometers to meters that form clumps that in turn orbit around the planet Saturn. The main rings such as the A and B contain denser and larger particles compared to other dusty rings. The dusty rings include the D, E, F and G rings. The ring particles are made almost entirely of water ice, with some contamination from dust and other chemicals. Reflection from the rings increases Saturn's brightness, but they are not visible from Earth with unaided vision. There are several gaps occurring within the rings: two opened by known moons embedded within them, and many others at locations of orbital resonances with Saturn's moons. If given an opportunity to study these rings more closely and in depth we could have a whole new revolution in our hand starting right from the knowledge of how these rings were actually created. Furthermore, we could actually study the history about the rings and know the facts about them which haven't been discovered so far. If successful in doing so, we could be on the verge of a whole new era in space exploration.

Presently the origin of the rings is obscure. It is thought that the main rings A & B, of which B is the largest, may have been formed from larger moons that were shattered by impacts of comets, meteoroids and even with the planet Saturn itself. The ring composition is not known for certain, but the rings show a significant amount of water. They may be composed of icebergs or other water based structures from a few centimeters to a few meters in size. Much of the elaborate structure of some of the rings is due to the gravitational effects of nearby satellites ie. the moons of Saturn and the planet Saturn itself. With the help of sufficient clues obtained from data and in-depth knowledge about the ring's composition, we could be on the verge of a discovery no man as ever made.

Saturn's rings have hidden beneath them a new world of mysteries about their history, their creation, their composition and many other things, which in the present time we may have no idea about. The study of Saturn and its Rings, if successful, would no doubt take us another step in the ultimate human space exploration and with the help of Cassini Spacecraft this mission looks closer to accomplishment. "