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
- Doyle, S., Einstein’s Heroes—biblical creationists, Creation 36(1):54–55, 2014; creation.com/einsteins-heroes. Return to text.
- Benson, E., Saturn’s rings may be from the whirl of a passing icy rock, newscientist.com, 16 September 2016. Return to text.
- 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.
- Coppedge, D., Young Saturn, Creation 33(3):44–46, 2011; creation.com/young-saturn. Return to text.