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Creation 39(2):56, April 2017

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Pristine Saturn problem



What are Saturn’s spectacular rings composed of? This was a great mystery to scientists ever since Christian Huygens first suggested in 1655 that Saturn had rings. It was solved by the great creationist physicist James Clerk Maxwell1 in 1859: they could not be solid, because they would be unstable; so instead, they comprised independently orbiting particles.

But there are still huge unsolved problems for evolutionists. Why are Saturn’s rings comprised mostly of water ice, whereas the less massive rings of Neptune and Uranus have more rock in them? Current evolutionary theories of ring formation, which mostly presume passing objects were captured and pulverized by large planets’ gravitational forces, struggle to provide satisfactory explanations.2,3

So it’s not surprising that Kobe University’s Ryuki Hyodo has said, “The origin of Saturn’s rings remains elusive.”2

Aside from the difficulty of explaining how the icy rings formed, one of the problems is the “question of timing”,2 i.e. according to the evolutionary timeline. That’s because the water ice of Saturn’s rings is too clean to be the claimed billions of years in age—interplanetary dust ought to have polluted it, if it really were that old.

As Matthew Tiscareno of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, observed regarding Saturn’s ring ice, “Even if you can get it in the first place, how does it survive for four billion years and still look pristine?”2

Actually, one might say that the One whose handiwork adorns the skies did so in such a way as to thwart naturalistic attempts to explain our solar system and the universe beyond. The evidence from NASA probes and other studies of Saturn and its rings and moons now overwhelmingly points to a ‘Young Saturn’.4 This is right in line with the Bible’s account of our universe having been created only thousands of years ago, not billions. The Psalmist indeed said it well: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)

References and notes

  1. Doyle, S., Einstein’s Heroes—biblical creationists, Creation 36(1):54–55, 2014; creation.com/einsteins-heroes. Return to text.
  2. Benson, E., Saturn’s rings may be from the whirl of a passing icy rock, newscientist.com, 16 September 2016. Return to text.
  3. Hyodo, R., and 3 others, Ring formation around giant planets by tidal disruption of a single passing large Kuiper Belt object, Icarus, online 29 September 2016 | doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2016.09.012. Return to text.
  4. Coppedge, D., Young Saturn, Creation 33(3):44–46, 2011; creation.com/young-saturn. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

Kathy K.
It’s amazing how God reveals truths to every generation. It all adds up to where we are today in believing in a young creation. For those of us who believe his Genesis account, these discoveries are no surprise. But it’s nice to have creation scientists working lifetimes to help us understand. If there were not articles galore about God’s amazing design, I don’t think I’d know what to look up. But I always have loved the Genesis 6 day creation. Thanks for your hard work, all of you.
Norman W.
Between this glaring example of youth, the retrograde rotation of Venus, the axis of Uranus being about 90° off vertical, the continuing presence of comets (which inspired a hypothesis of a cloud of objects never seen and never provable), and other objects beyond man’s ability to explain away, it is amazing scientists still hold on to their phony belief in billions of years to explain that which cannot be explained.

God is the creator. Trying to find ways to explain Him away will always prove futile and childish. They are required to have more faith for such absurd explanations than we who believe in a God who not only created all that can be seen, but actually took the time and initiative to visit us and lay down His own life, as a man, to pay for our transgressions. No wonder they find themselves stymied again and again.

God’s ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts like ours. We will never understand how God works or can exist, eternally, but still desired to create a universe for our miserable benefit. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

[Hyperlinks added—Ed.]
Van W.
I believe a video series called primer fields by a physics professor explains saturns rings as produced held in place by its electromagnetic field. Saturn has the same polar direction as its spin so both its poles and its magnetism are aligned. That is unusual and allegedly grabs material from surrounding space and holds it in its spin cycles. This is recreated in the video in a lab which looks and registers readings identical to what is seen in space. This celestial object and many others was created in seconds in a lab. Could the real universe have been created from electromagnetic fields having the structural information to hold certain shapes... I’m less than one earth day? The pristine ice also shows youth and “instant” or at least rapid creation. The whole universe could have fully formed as planets, stars, galaxies, before God “stretched the heavens like a sheet” the psalmist says.
Jonathan Sarfati
I am not aware of this particular series, and I admit to some skepticism. All the evidence points to gravity as the force holding the rings.

Indeed, evidence from only last month, i.e. after this article was first published, points to Saturn's magnetosphere as a destabilizing force on the rings. The reason is that the ice particles in the rings are exposed to ionizing radiation. This can cause the particles to become charged, and these moving charges can then be affected by Saturn’s magnetosphere. The problem for the rings is that the field direction at the rings points towards the planet. And there is good evidence for this ‘ring rain’. See this article from Earth Sky, Goodbye to Saturn’s rings, and this article by ministry friend Dave Coppedge, Saturn, the Bringer of Youth.
King T.
Thanks for displaying this article again.

Just to fill in with some new Saturn discoveries—when Cassini plunged into the atmosphere in 2017 they discovered even more problems:

  1. The innermost D-ring was shedding material at an unprecedented rate. So fast that it obviously could not last millions of years. “We saw it was happening even though it’s not fully understood,” meaning that at that rate and millions of years, the ring should not exist anymore.

  2. The chemical makeup of what was being discarded revealed the presence of methane and carbon dioxide, which I guess should not be there as gas over millions of years. The researchers expected the water but found the gases totally unexpected, i.e. as per usual their theories predicted that there should be none. “More than simply water, the INMS found the rings to be composed of water, methane, ammonia, carbon monoxide, molecular nitrogen and carbon dioxide.” Organic chemicals (containing carbon bonds) are raising all kinds of questions.

  3. The researcher, Cravens, said this:
    What’s the lifetime of a ring? And what's replenishing the rings? Was there a time when Saturn didn’t have rings? How did that composition get into there in the first place? Is it left over from the formation of our solar system? Does it date back to proto–pre-solar nebula, the nebula that collapsed out of interstellar media that formed the sun and planets?

According to Cravens, the higher-than-expected rate of material being expelled from Saturn’s D Ring into the planet’s upper atmosphere, or ionosphere, is sufficient that astronomers now think the lifespan of the ring may be briefer than previously estimated.

The problems just got even more enigmatic and the absurdity of billions of years even more idiotic!

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