Rings and moons

Definition

Rings and moons are the matter that orbit a celestial body other than a star. Rings are a collection of dust or small particles that form into a flat disk. Moons, or natural satellites, are much larger single bodies. Large moons can themselves support rings.

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Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The seabed of Ligeia Mare, a hydrocarbon sea at the north pole of Titan, may be a favourable place for the separation of nitrogen and the creation of bubbles that then buoyantly rise to the sea's surface.

    • Jennifer Hanley
  • News and Views |

    The twin isotopic signatures of the Moon and Earth are difficult to explain by a single giant impact. Impact simulations suggest that making the Moon by a combination of multiple, smaller moonlet-forming impacts may work better.

    • Gareth S. Collins
    Nature Geoscience 10, 72–73
  • News and Views |

    The two small satellites of Mars are thought to have accreted from a debris disk formed in a giant impact. Simulations suggest the moons were shepherded into formation by the dynamical influence of one or more short-lived massive inner moons.

    • Erik Asphaug
    Nature Geoscience 9, 568–569
  • Comments and Opinion |

    After more than a decade exploring Saturn and its moons, the Cassini mission is in its closing act. Cassini's last year is an encore performance stuffed with science, including a final plunge into Saturn's atmosphere.

    • Scott G. Edgington
    •  & Linda J. Spilker
    Nature Geoscience 9, 472–473
  • News and Views |

    Compared to Earth, the Moon is depleted in volatile species like water, sodium and potassium. Simulations suggest that much of the Moon formed from hot, volatile-poor melt in a disk of debris after initially amassing cooler, volatile-rich melt.

    • Steve Desch
    Nature Geoscience 8, 902–903