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Saturn's rings are going to disappear in 2025
Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images/ HUM Images/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Saturn's rings are going to disappear in 2025

NASA has previously said Saturn's rings will disappear quicker than expected - but there's another reason we won't see them in 2025.

Saturn's rings will vanish from view in 2025, no longer able to be seen in astronomer's images of the planet.

The rings of Saturn - the biggest and brightest rings in our solar system - are mostly made up of chunks of ice and some rock and dust material too.

They were first observed in 1610 by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei.

However, if you whack out your telescope in 2025, you won't be able to see the same image that Galilei saw when he caught a glimpse of the impressive ring system - because the rings surrounding the planet are set to disappear from sight.

NASA has previously spoken out about Saturn's rings disappearing a lot more quickly than anticipated.

It was previously believed that it would take around 300 million years for the rings to melt away - the result of the Sun's UV radiation and other meteoroids colliding with the rings causing the ice particles in the rings to vaporise and form charged water molecules that interact with Saturn's magnetic field, before falling down onto the planet in a similar way to rain.

Data collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft back in 2017 revealed it's expected to actually take 100 million years for the rings to disappear - which, granted, won't be anywhere in our lifetime or our grandkids' either, but is still a lot quicker than 300 million.

But wait a second, 2025 isn't in 100 million years time I hear you say.

Well, let me explain a few more details about why Saturn's rings will be disappearing in 2025.

Saturn's rings will temporarily disappear from view in 2025.
Getty Images/ Gary Hershorn

So, in 2025, Saturn's rings won't be disappearing altogether, but temporarily from sight.

Saturn's rings can typically be seen from Earth even with 'a small telescope or even with high-powered binoculars under good conditions,' explains.

However, as Saturn continues to orbit around the Sun, by 2025, it will be tilting a certain way so its rings will be obscured from view.

According to IFL Science, the 'angle of tilt' will 'drop to zero when it gets to 23 March, 2025'.

And 2025 isn't the only year Saturn's rings are set to vanish from sight either.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun.
Getty Images/ Universal History Archive/ Universal Images Group

The 'edge-on view' described by IFL Science occurs in 'intervals of 13.7 to 15.7 years' because of the 'Earth crossing the plane of rings' - and one, two or three crossings can occur.

The science blog continues: "The next event following 2025 will be a triple one again: October 15, 2038, and then April 1, and July 9, 2039."

So, for the astronomers among us, don't fret when you don't see Saturn's rings in the sky in 2025, it's not a sign of the planet's rings vanishing completely just yet - it's just a temporary obstruction.

And rest assured you can catch all of Saturn's glorious rings in full view in 2032.

Topics: US News, World News, International Space Station, Space, Science, Technology, NASA