Saturn’s Rings – A Great Mystery

Believe it or not, astrophysicists around the world cannot explain the origin of the rings of Saturn which are almost pure water ice.

Candidate hypotheses for Saturn rings:

1. The rings formed along with planets, 4.7 billion years ago.

2. They resulted from the collision of two comets or a comet with a Moon.

3.  Saturn tidally pulled all the ice from a large moon which is now gone.

Number 1 doesn’t work because the ring system would decay in less than a few million years.  Number 2, a collision of two bodies revolving in the same direction would not destroy both, and the probability of a body moving retrograde hitting another one with a prograde revolution is extremely small.  In an attempt to solve what is apparently a mystery, a new paper in Nature (Robin Canup, SWRI) reports on a computer model which proposes number 3.  To account for the absence today of its rocky core, the model predicts that after tidally pulling off all the ice to form the rings, the core was pulled into Saturn and destroyed.  Why the ice remained in orbit and the core did not, I do not comprehend.  The author states that their hypothesis accounts for the fact that Saturn’s rings are nearly pure ice, while most objects in that part of the solar system are more an ice-rock blend.

Actually the same problem exists for all the moons of both Saturn and Jupiter.  The total (named) moons for both planets are 116 in number and, like the rings, are primarily water ice, but the two giants are thought to be gaseous (hydrogen and helium).  Consistent with this hypothesis, measurements by the Galileo probe indicated that there was little water in the atmosphere of Jupiter.  But if there was so much water around to form these moons and rings, why is there so little water in the giant planets?

The Origin of the Rings

Cyclic Catastrophism gives an unconventional solution, but one well documented by ancient texts.  The ‘birth’ of proto-Venus from a great impact on Jupiter makes it clear that Jupiter and by association, Saturn, are solid bodies beneath their thick clouds.  The natural candidate for their makeup is solid methane gas hydrate, which is a natural form of water under conditions of low temperature, high pressures and the presence of methane.  Quoting Wikipedia: “ [solid methane gas hydrate] was originally thought to occur only in the outer regions of the Solar System(?) where temperatures are low and water ice is common, [but] significant deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of Earth.”   That is, solid methane gas hydrates have already been proposed by some scientists to comprise the smaller bodies in the outer solar system, but the failure to look beyond the ‘standard model’ in which Jupiter and Saturn have been declared gaseous hydrogen and helium, has led to a complete misunderstanding of the giant planets.  A methane gas hydrate composition of Saturn and Jupiter easily accounts for the dominance of water in the rings and in the 116 (named) moons of the two planets.  These were obviously ‘splashed’ off the giant planets by impacts, since methane gas hydrates are primarily water.

Solid methane gas hydrate is a clathrate – a mixture in which ‘foreign’ molecules or atoms, are completely entrapped in the crystal lattice or cell-like structure of the other, in this case water.  Although the primary encapsulated molecule is methane, this structure also encapsulated most of the heavy elements in the nascent solar system in Jupiter, whose density (1.33), is much greater than Saturn’s (0.7).  The process of terrestrial planet formation was demonstrated by a great impact on Jupiter 6,000 years ago forming proto-Venus.

But what the famous mythologist Joseph Campbell called the Trickster was at his best in this process because, under the great atmospheric pressure at the surfaces of giant planets, a highly energetic impact in the methane gas hydrate surface can initiate a self-sustaining nuclear fusion process in the crater, something that no astrophysicist in the world ever imagined.  The impact on Jupiter 6,000 years ago did just that, and that nuclear burning continues, albeit less intensely, to this day (there’s plenty of hydrogen fuel). The released heavy metal compounds condense while spiraling upward to form the Great Red Spot, driving the zonal wind bands, coloring the atmosphere, and creating a heat blanket which disguises the point origin of the heat, creating the planet’s apparent ‘temperature excess’, similarly the temperature excesses of  the other outer planets.  Thus the giant planets are solid frozen bodies whose atmospheres, only, are heated by fusion energy within impact craters in their surfaces.  Astrophysicists believe that the heat is coming from the interior of a hot planet and therefore that they must be gaseous and enormously compressed at depth.  But it’s all smoke and mirrors, a trick of the greatest of all magicians.

The vast hot plasma cloud resulting from such an impact rebounds with the natural proportion of elements in Jupiter.  The solid body of a proto-planet, like Venus, first forms from the liquified heavy elements, with the heaviest elements, like iron and nickel, in the core.  But the vastly greater number of volatile elements in the methane gas hydrates, needed to form its salty (Na, Cl) ocean (H, O), atmosphere (O, N), soil (Si) and organic molecules (C), remain floating in the inner solar system, waiting to be captured once the surface cools down.  Venus has only begun this latter stage high in the atmospheric but enormous amounts of sulphur are still shooting to an altitude of 50 km from over 200,000 small domes, establishing a ‘hadesphere’ with a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead and zinc.  As the planet cools this zone will slowly settle and bring normal earth-like pressure and temperatures to the surface.  It would behoove space agencies to determine the rate at which this lower atmosphere is settling so as to predict when the next stage of formation will begin.  Unfortunately, astrophysicists still cling to the uniformitarion notion that Venus formed 4.7 billion years ago and that its current state is a result of a ‘recent’ pole to pole resurfacing several hundred million years ago.


The methane gas hydrate structure obviously explains the continual presence of methane in the atmospheres of all the outer planets, since the methane we observe above the clouds is quickly dissociated by solar radiation and must therefore be continually replenished from deeper within the planet, primarily from the burning gas hydrates.  Indeed, the current notion of a continual presence of methane in the atmospheres of Saturn and Jupiter for the last 4.7 billion years itself, calls into question their imagined pure hydrogen/helium composition.

Tidal Q

The Tidal Q is a measure of the influence that a primary body has on its satellites.  If the primary rotates faster than the satellite orbits, angular momentum is transferred to the satellite because the tidal bulge it creates on the primary ‘leads’ the satellite.  As a result, the satellite gradually moves away from the primary. This is the case with the Earth-Moon system, in which the Moon is slowly retreating from the Earth.  The Q is actually the reciprocal of the lead angle. A solid planet, like the Earth, typically has a Q=100, implying a large lead angle and therefore a small Q.  Conversely, a gaseous planet should have little effect on its satellites and its Q is expected to approach infinity.  A famous planetary scientist, William Hubbard, calculated Jupiter’s Q by assuming that Io was originally at the surface of Jupiter and that the effect of the giant planet working for 4.7 billion years pushed Io out to its current orbit.  Even with this wild assumption he found Jupiter’s Q = 1,000,000, a value which he thought was too low.  He then calculated the Q for Io, assuming the heat radiated from it was tidally generated and using this he recalculated that the Jupiter Q = 1 ,.  Which is physically impossible.  In his own words: “ … a somewhat embarrassing result …”  Of course, cyclic catastrophism claims that Io was created in its current orbit within  the last six thousand years, which negates his entire calculation.  The point is that planetary scientists obviously have implicit doubts about the ‘standard theory’, but because of their fundamental uniformitarian assumption, are unable to see beyond the proverbial (big) envelope.

(1 Cor 1:20 KJV)  Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

~ by Angiras on December 20, 2010.

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