Cassini probe at Saturn... (warning -- large images!)

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No CGI used in this fly-by video of Saturn - it's made up entirely of images

Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Wednesday, 16 March 2011 03:55 (5 years ago) Permalink

this is The Thread That Keeps On Giving. Great work again, ET.

Bill A, Wednesday, 16 March 2011 10:46 (5 years ago) Permalink


Morty Maxwell (crüt), Wednesday, 16 March 2011 11:00 (5 years ago) Permalink

There's a nice interview with the guy who did it here.

I'm sorry, I did not create the cosmos, I merely explain it. (Ned Trifle II), Wednesday, 16 March 2011 11:02 (5 years ago) Permalink

Also additional vid on how he did some of it.

I'm sorry, I did not create the cosmos, I merely explain it. (Ned Trifle II), Wednesday, 16 March 2011 11:07 (5 years ago) Permalink

Holy fuck, that's just beautiful.

the most cuddlesome bug that ever was borned (James Morrison), Wednesday, 16 March 2011 22:54 (5 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...


(sorry about the name... couldn't help myself. anyway, go watch it!)

Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Saturday, 11 June 2011 00:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered the best evidence yet for a large-scale saltwater reservoir beneath the icy crust of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The data came from the spacecraft's direct analysis of salt-rich ice grains close to the jets ejected from the moon.

Data from Cassini's cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are relatively small and predominantly low in salt far away from the moon. But closer to the moon's surface, Cassini found that relatively large grains rich with sodium and potassium dominate the plumes. The salt-rich particles have an "ocean-like" composition and indicate that most, if not all, of the expelled ice and water vapor comes from the evaporation of liquid salt water. The findings appear in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

"There currently is no plausible way to produce a steady outflow of salt-rich grains from solid ice across all the tiger stripes other than salt water under Enceladus's icy surface," said Frank Postberg, a Cassini team scientist at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and the lead author on the paper. When water freezes, the salt is squeezed out, leaving pure water ice behind. If the plumes emanated from ice, they should have very little salt in them.

Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Thursday, 23 June 2011 01:15 (4 years ago) Permalink

I love me that probe.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 23 June 2011 01:16 (4 years ago) Permalink

are they investigating the whole enceladus?

StanM, Thursday, 23 June 2011 02:26 (4 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

This recent picture of Enceladus is knocking me out.

The geyser jets are backlit by the sun and Enceladus here is lit by Saturn-shine.

Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Wednesday, 5 October 2011 01:34 (4 years ago) Permalink


corey, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 01:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

Crazy great.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 01:58 (4 years ago) Permalink

cool. but is that, like, a shit load of trucks coming towards us over the horizon?

Summer Slam! (Ste), Wednesday, 5 October 2011 08:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

Read the end of Elvis T's comment again...

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 12:36 (4 years ago) Permalink

Too late, I can only think of Sam Rockwell mining Enceladus...

willem, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 13:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

cool. but is that, like, a shit load of trucks coming towards us over the horizon?

― Summer Slam! (Ste), Wednesday, 5 October 2011 09:24 (5 hours ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

otm looks like burning man

caek, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 13:28 (4 years ago) Permalink

5 months pass...

Time to migrate.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 7 March 2012 05:37 (4 years ago) Permalink

Subject line says it all: Massive Ice Avalanches on Iapetus

Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Friday, 23 March 2012 23:56 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

What things might sound like on Titan (the waterfall and splashdown sounds are great!)

Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 09:54 (4 years ago) Permalink

Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:22 (4 years ago) Permalink

the people i work with are v upset because this thing got selected by a science panel instead of an x-ray telescope, but tbh i think it looks awesome

caek, Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:29 (4 years ago) Permalink

some more links

caek, Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:33 (4 years ago) Permalink

That's no moon, that's a Kuiper Belt Object

Saturn’s curious moon Phoebe features a heavily-cratered shape and orbits the ringed planet backwards at a considerable distance of over 8 million miles (12.8 million km). According to recent news from the Cassini mission Phoebe may actually be a Kuiper Belt object, having more in common with planets than it does with any of Saturn’s other satellites.

132 miles (212 km) in diameter, Phoebe is the largest of Saturn’s irregular moons — a cloud of small, rocky worlds held in distant orbits at highly inclined paths. Its backwards (retrograde) motion around Saturn and dense composition are dead giveaways that it didn’t form in situ within the Saturnian system, but rather was captured at some point when it strayed too close to the gas giant.

In fact it’s now thought that Phoebe may be a remnant from the formation of the Solar System — a planetesimal — with its own unique history predating its adoption into Saturn’s extended family of moons.

Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Monday, 30 April 2012 02:57 (4 years ago) Permalink

juice confirmed: launch in 2022, reaches jupiters moons in 2030, so perhaps a bit early to change the thread title, but it's going to be rad.

caek, Thursday, 3 May 2012 10:11 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

it was a dark and stormy genitals. (Phil D.), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:19 (4 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

Looking at landslides on Iapetus:

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 3 October 2012 08:11 (3 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Saturn's North Polar Vortex

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 28 November 2012 21:53 (3 years ago) Permalink

The vortex itself is just a small feature at the center of the northern hexagon

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 28 November 2012 21:54 (3 years ago) Permalink

Close-up picture is about 3km per pixel - picture-width is about as big as the Moon.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 28 November 2012 21:55 (3 years ago) Permalink

Guh at all that. The hexagon! If only Clarke had learned about THAT.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 28 November 2012 21:56 (3 years ago) Permalink

holy fuck, that's amazing

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Thursday, 29 November 2012 02:06 (3 years ago) Permalink

Not a Cassini image, just cool space stuff: ‘Overmassive’ black hole holds the mass of 17 billion suns:

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Thursday, 29 November 2012 05:03 (3 years ago) Permalink

O_O at the hexagon

Tome Cruise (Matt P), Thursday, 29 November 2012 05:15 (3 years ago) Permalink

I'm totally starting a Hawkwind-esque space rock band called SATURN'S HEXAGON

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 29 November 2012 05:47 (3 years ago) Permalink


nickn, Thursday, 29 November 2012 06:20 (3 years ago) Permalink

the hexagon does not care, it does not love

ゑ (clouds), Thursday, 29 November 2012 13:07 (3 years ago) Permalink

It's thought to be linked to these radio emmisions.

Paul McCartney, the Gary Barlow of The Beatles (snoball), Thursday, 29 November 2012 13:14 (3 years ago) Permalink

Hexagon in color

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 29 November 2012 23:30 (3 years ago) Permalink

More Iapetus theories

Iapetus, one of Saturn’s weirdest moons, has an enormous equatorial mountain ridge, a spiky belt that rises 12 miles above the moon’s surface. How Iapetus built that belt – the only one of its kind ever observed – has been a persistent conundrum.

Now, scientists suggest that a giant impact early in Iapetus’ history knocked the moon around, dramatically slowing its rotation rate and deforming its crust. After 1 million years, Iapetus began to resemble the walnut-shaped satellite it is today: flatter at the poles, and with a ridge extending most of the way around its middle, suggested planetary scientist Gabriel Tobie of France’s University of Nantes here at the American Geophysical Union conference Dec. 4.

Earlier ideas describing the birth of the Iapetian belt invoke tectonic activity within the moon itself, or the brief presence of a impact-produced satellite – a smaller body that wandered too close to Iapetus and was shredded, briefly forming a ring that disintegrated over the moon’s equator.

Tobie and his colleagues simulated the Iapetian early years and came up with a different story. Shortly after it formed, Iapetus spun around itself once every six hours or so. But after about 10 million years of unperturbed rotation, an object between 500 and 650 miles wide zoomed in and face-planted on the moon.

The collision disrupted the moon’s rotation rate, immediately slowing it to more than 30 hours per pirouette. Such rapid braking stretched and deformed the moon’s crust, flattening its poles and pinching the ridge around its middle, Tobie demonstrated in a 3-D simulation. “It is possible for a single impact to change the rotation of Iapetus,” he said, noting a 500-mile-wide crater that could be a scar left over from the collision. “We can generate a ridge only if the body rotates very, very fast initially.”

While the theory is intriguing, some scientists at the presentation were skeptical, suggesting that it might not be as easy to despin the moon as suggested, and that the simulation may not have gotten Iapetus’ interior quite right. Another persistent mystery is the fact that the ridge isn’t wrapped all the way around the moon.

Like the rest of the theories, this newest idea can’t answer those questions, yet.

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 9 December 2012 03:56 (3 years ago) Permalink

We got space rivers

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 22:17 (3 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

Not sure where else to put this, but here's a 25-minute tour of the international space station hosted by astronaut Sunita Williams.

nickn, Sunday, 6 January 2013 04:15 (3 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

Dear god I love this kind of stuff.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 2 May 2013 20:08 (3 years ago) Permalink

would have been cooler if they had caught a meteor colliding with the rings around uranus

乒乓, Thursday, 2 May 2013 20:57 (3 years ago) Permalink

New pictures of the hexagon and the hexagon's eye.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 15 May 2013 06:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Cassini Finds Hints of Activity at Saturn Moon Dione

The north pole of Dione. The feature just left of the terminator at bottom is Janiculum Dorsa, a long, roughly north-south trending ridge.
From a distance, most of the Saturnian moon Dione resembles a bland cueball. Thanks to close-up images of a 500-mile-long (800-kilometer-long) mountain on the moon from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, scientists have found more evidence for the idea that Dione was likely active in the past. It could still be active now.

"A picture is emerging that suggests Dione could be a fossil of the wondrous activity Cassini discovered spraying from Saturn's geyser moon Enceladus or perhaps a weaker copycat Enceladus," said Bonnie Buratti of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who leads the Cassini science team that studies icy satellites. "There may turn out to be many more active worlds with water out there than we previously thought."

Other bodies in the solar system thought to have a subsurface ocean – including Saturn's moons Enceladus and Titan and Jupiter's moon Europa – are among the most geologically active worlds in our solar system. They have been intriguing targets for geologists and scientists looking for the building blocks of life elsewhere in the solar system. The presence of a subsurface ocean at Dione would boost the astrobiological potential of this once-boring iceball.

Hints of Dione's activity have recently come from Cassini, which has been exploring the Saturn system since 2004. The spacecraft’s magnetometer has detected a faint particle stream coming from the moon, and images showed evidence for a possible liquid or slushy layer under its rock-hard ice crust. Other Cassini images have also revealed ancient, inactive fractures at Dione similar to those seen at Enceladus that currently spray water ice and organic particles.

The mountain examined in the latest paper -- published in March in the journal Icarus -- is called Janiculum Dorsa and ranges in height from about 0.6 to 1.2 miles (1 to 2 kilometers). The moon's crust appears to pucker under this mountain as much as about 0.3 mile (0.5 kilometer).

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 31 May 2013 04:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Wave at Saturn

One of the most exciting Cassini events in 2013 will be the unusual opportunity on July 19 to image the whole Saturn system as it is backlit by the sun. With Saturn covering the harsh light of the sun, we will be gathering unique ring science and also catching a glimpse of our very own home planet.

The main science goal for the mosaic we are making of the Saturn system is to look at the more diffuse rings that encircle Saturn and check for change over time. A previous mosaic of the Saturn system Cassini made in 2006 revealed that the dusty E ring, which is fed by the water-ice plume of the moon Enceladus, had unexpectedly large variations in brightness and color around its orbit. We'll want to see how that looks seven Earth years and a Saturnian season later, giving us clues to the forces at work in the Saturn system. We'll do this analysis by collecting data from our visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, composite infrared mapping spectrometer and ultraviolet imaging spectrograph in addition to the imaging cameras.
But one of the best parts of the mosaic we're making on July 19 is that we'll be able to take a picture of Earth – and all of you -- from about 898 million miles (1.44 billion kilometers) away. The Earth will appear to be just a pixel, but you can see in this simulated close-up what parts of it will be illuminated.

Opportunities to image Earth from the outer solar system are few and far between and special care must be taken so we don't blind our cameras by looking in the direction of the sun, where Earth is. There have been only two images of Earth from the outer solar system in all the time humankind has been venturing out into space. The first and most distant was one was taken 23 years ago by NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft from 4 billion miles (6 billion kilometers away), showing Earth as a pale blue dot . The other opportunity was Cassini's image in 2006 from 926 million miles (1.49 billion kilometers).

North America and part of the Atlantic Ocean are expected to be illuminated when NASA's Cassini spacecraft takes a snapshot of Earth on July 19, 2013. This view is a close-up simulation. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

We think Cassini's July image is a special opportunity for Earthlings to wave at our photographer in the Saturn system and learn more about my favorite planet, its rings and moons. We hope you'll go outside, look in the direction of Saturn and send us pictures of yourselves waving. You can share your pictures by joining our Flickr group Wave at Saturn, adding them to our Wave at Saturn Facebook event page or tagging pictures on Twitter #waveatsaturn. We hope to make a special collage of all these images if we get enough of them.
The Cassini portrait session of Earth will last about 15 minutes from 2:27 to 2:42 p.m. PDT (21:27 to 21:42 UTC).

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 19 July 2013 11:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

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