In the mid 1970's, Franklin and O'Meara saw persistent "radial spoke-like features" in the rings of Saturn, that should not have existed due to the differential rotation of the rings. A publication on this observation was rejected by a journal apparently on the grounds that the phenomenon was considered to be illusory (c.f Sciparelli/Lowell's Martian canals?).
From "Seeing in the Dark: How Amateur Astronomers Are Discovering the Wonder" By Timothy Ferris.
My question is, how reliably were these features visible from the ground-based telescopes of the day? Could sufficiently strong evidence for the existence been obtained before images from space probes? Was the rejection of the paper reasonable in the historical context in which the paper was submitted?