Spokes in the rings

Saturn's F ring closeup from spacecraft

The Cassini probe has allowed astronomers to infer something about the dynamics and structure of the particles that make up Saturn’s rings, and solve a puzzle about the ‘spokes’ seen moving around the rings on a previous flyby.

The ring structure has fractal properties, the rings look the same at different scales, and a simple mathematical model called the Henon attractor can be used to generate ring like structures.

The Java applet is one of several available as part of a Chaos course written by Michael Cross at CalTech.

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