It’s true. We (being astronomers and people far smarter than I) really don’t know. But we do know where this mysterious event took place: One million kilometers away, in Saturn’s F ring.
The pic was snapped by a school bus sized gadget we call Cassini. It’s been orbiting Saturn since 2004, and the wealth of data, photos and knowledge beamed back to us in that timeframe is nothing short of amazing.
But this latest snapshot is an enigma. Something punched through the F ring, violently spewing a plume of dust, ice and rock out into the nothingness—but what?
Even more mysterious is the bright spot left in the object’s wake. Icy crystals laid bare for the Sun’s rays? A new material? A cosmic mooning from some alien prankster? Possibly, but whatever it is, it’s yet another reminder of how violent and unexpected space can be.