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Saturn's spiral.

Saturn has long been known for its jumbo rings. Scientists now say that one of those bands isn't a ring at all.

Due to its wiggly shape, the F-ring--one of the planet's seven bands of densely packed ice, dust, and rock--has always been an oddball. Images recently collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal another unusual feature: Instead of forming a single circle like Saturn's other rings, the F-ring is a spiraling structure that wraps around the planet several times. What's more, the swirling band of dust is slowly winding tighter around Saturn.

"Nothing like this has ever been seen," says Mark Showalter, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in California.
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Title Annotation:SPACE/PLANETS
Author:Gaidos, Susan
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 6, 2006
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