Saturn is all set to perplex skywatchers on Earth, as the unobstructed view of its classic rings will become impossible for a brief period of time in 2025.
According to a report published in IFLScience, this phenomenon will happen due to the tilt of the planet as it makes its way around the sun once more.
Saturn’s ring will be invisible from Earth
For Saturn, it takes almost 30 Earth years to complete one rotation around the sun, and about halfway in this course, an equinox occurs.
Even though Saturn’s rings will give us a feeling that they have disappeared, the reality is that the planet is just tilted in accordance with its orbital plane.
According to NASA, gas giant’s rings are more or less visible depending on the angle or its point in orbit, and this will most probably happen on May 06, 2025.
“For nearly half of Saturn’s orbit, the sun shines on the south side of the rings. For the other half, it shines on the north side,” says NASA.
The rings are seen “edge-on and appear as a thin line” giving the illusion that they have completely vanished when Saturn’s official change in seasons is observed from Earth, according to the European Space Agency.
Saturn’s ring: All you need to know
According to space experts, Saturn’s rings are made up of debris including comets, asteroids, or shattered moons that were crushed to bits by the gas giant’s powerful gravity.
Experts believe that these objects that encompass Saturn’s rings are made of ice and rock. The size of these objects varies, as some of them are as small as a sand particle, while some others are mighty like a mountain.
“We estimate that this ‘ring rain’ drains an amount of water products that could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool from Saturn’s rings in half an hour,” said James O’Donoghue of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
In 2018, NASA had predicted that these iconic rings of Saturn may disappear in the next 300 million years.