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Dec 11 2013

We’ll Call Her Peggy: Saturn Births a Moon

dn24738-1_1024See that little bright clump at the bottom of Saturn’s outer ring? Carl Murray of Queen Mary University of London and colleagues were looking at pictures of the small moon Prometheus taken by NASA’s Cassini orbiter and they noticed the bright spot.

First thing they did? Name it Peggy. Second thing? Speculate that it may be a new moon forming. Third thing? Lose it, and not in a “let’s party” kind of way either, Peggy has disappeared. “Peggy would be less than a kilometre wide, so if it has escaped from the A ring it is probably too tiny for Cassini’s cameras to spot.”

The speculations on what happened to Peggy range from being broken up by other debris in the ring, or she could have flown out on her own to make her own way in this wide universe. Kinda brings a tear to your eye doesn’t it? Seems like just a minute ago you were learning that a little moon named Peggy was born and now she’s off on her own trying to find her place in the Universe.

Hit the jump for my speculation on what happened.

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