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Saturn's rings an optical illusion?

Saturn
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Viewed from particular angles, the rings appear far less densely populated with debris that first though. NASA said that muddier water has more...

London: According to a recent study, Saturn's rings have been playing tricks on us by creating an optical illusion.

Experts have analyzed the mass of Saturn's rings and found that they are thinner than anticipated, the Mirror reported.

Viewed from particular angles, the rings appear far less densely populated with debris that first though. NASA said that muddier water has more suspended particles of dirt in it than clearer water.

It added, "Likewise, you might think that, in the rings of Saturn, more opaque areas contain a greater concentration of material than places where the rings seem more transparent."

Cassini co-investigator Phillip Nicholson and Matthew Hedman of the University of Idaho studied the planet and did not find any link between the rings' opacity and the amount of material they contains.

In their study, experts discovered that Saturn's B-ring opacity manifested variations in its width even if the amount of material didn't change at all.

Nicholson stated that appearances can be deceiving. A good analogy is how a foggy meadow is much more opaque than a swimming pool, even though the pool is denser and contains a lot more water.

The new report has been published online by the journal Icarus.

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