Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 24: Nov-Dec 1982

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Mysterious "thing" in orbit around saturn

When the two Voyager spacecraft flew past Saturn, both detected strong bursts of radio emissions recurring every 10 hours, 10 minutes. New termed SEDs (Saturn Electrostatic Discharges), the period of these bursts would be matched by the period of an object rotating around Saturn at a distance of about 100,000 kilometers. Is there anything visible at this distance? Sure enough, Voyager optical instrumentation detected a thinning, possibly an actual gap, about 150 meters wide, in the B-ring at this radius. The big puzzle is why a thinness or gap is maintained over a long period of time and how it is associated with the SEDs.

(Evans, D.R., et al; "The Source of Saturn Electrostatic Discharges," Nature, 299:236, 1982.)

Comment. Could Saturn and its rings, which may be electrically charged, be some sort of electromagnetic machine, with arcing occurring at the gap?

Reference. SEDs are cataloged at ARF1 in our book: The Moon and the Planets. Ordering information here.

From Science Frontiers #24, NOV-DEC 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987