Why Saturn's Inner Moons looks like Ravioli and Potatoes?

June 18, 2018
Saturn's moons namely Pan, Atlas and Prometheus has the most interesting shapes. Some even compare them with cigars and Moby Dick. Pan is shaped like a Walnut, Atlas like a flying saucer and Prometheus a whale.
Saturn Moon's varied shapes
How such odd shapes came into being?

This takes place because of the collision between the moonlets of similar sizes which is known as 'pyramidal regime formation scenario'. Saturn is the second largest planet after Jupiter. The gas giant (a giant planet composed mainly of hydrogen and helium) is 95 times more than Earth and this makes the gravitational force far greater than the one that shaped our Moon. The huge tidal forces and the strong gravitational pull of the planet makes it clear that the moons of Saturn are not evolved by "gradual accretion"(a thing formed or added by gradual growth or increase) but by the collision of the moonlets.

Why does this collision take place?

A study led by Adrien Leleu explains, such impact configurations are uncommon among other celestial bodies, such as comets or asteroids. However, due to the “very specific environment” in which Saturn’s inner moons exist - their close proximity to their host planet and its rings, coupled with their “almost perfectly circular orbits” - near-head-on collisions would have been quite frequent in their case.

Post Written by -  Adap Immanuel Teron

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