High-Res GIF (542 kB)
This artist’s rendering shows “Dynamic Ephemeral Bodies” (DEB’s) in Saturn’s rings viewed from just above the plane. In this particular dynamical model of the rings, house-sized bodies (the largest shown here) grow in a matter of days by accretion of much smaller particles. However, the large bodies continually break up due to tidal forces, as in the case of the S-shaped disaggregating swarm in the right foreground. Large bodies are irregularly shaped and lie roughly in a flat layer; smaller particles are scattered about them. This painting by W. K. Hartmann represents a thinly populated locale in the rings.