Saturn's rings tell a comet's tale | Science News

Be a Champion for Science

Get your subscription to

Science News when you join.


Saturn's rings tell a comet's tale

Ripples testify to 14th century collision

6:12pm, October 7, 2011

NANTES, France — During the 1300s, the Black Death was savaging Europe, England and France were locked in the Hundred Years’ War and Chaucer was penning his Canterbury Tales. Meanwhile, more than a billion kilometers away, a comet careened toward Saturn and disintegrated, dropping dusty clouds of debris on the giant planet’s iconic rings, creating rippled cometary footprints.

The ripples from that cataclysmic event can still be detected today, electrical engineer Essam Marouf reported October 4 during the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News