Astronomers have discovered the origin of a mysterious pattern on the surface of Lapetus, Saturn’s moon, bright white on one side and the coal-black on the other side. The mystery of the two-color pattern has long worried scientists, but researchers at Cornell University have managed to expand it. It turned out that the dark color is the dust from another moon of Saturn,Phoebe. Since Lapetus is not rotating on its axis, dark flakes settle on the same side. Researchers mathematically describe the motion of dust particles in the external system of Saturn. Special attention was honored Phoebe that is a dark, distant moon of irregular shape, orbiting around the parent planet in the opposite direction (compared to Lapetus).
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Phoebe’s collision with other external moons are the source of the vast invisible ring of dust that lies far beyond the other, more photogenic rings. The dust from it falls on Lapetus. Scientists have found that almost every particle, larger than 10 microns, finally will be on Lapetus. Smaller formations traversing past, settle on Titan or Hyperion.