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

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four weeks pass...

Enceladus Fissures Keep Getting Warmer and More Complex

As Cassini scientists await the data from today’s flyby of Enceladus, images and data from August of this year have provided more insight into the active fissures on the icy moon’s south polar region. These geyser-spewing fractures are warmer and more complicated than previously thought.

“The exquisite resolution obtained on one segment of the Damascus fracture — one of the most active regions within the south polar terrain — has revealed a surface temperature reaching a staggering 190 Kelvin, or 120 degrees below zero Fahrenheit,” said Cassini imaging team lead Carolyn Porco, in an email announcing the new images. “Far from the fractures, the temperature of the south polar terrain dips as low as 52 Kelvin, or 365 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.”

Porco said that what this means is that a phenomenal amount of heat is emerging from the fractures which are “undoubtedly the result of the tidal flexing of Enceladus brought about by its orbital resonance with Dione. However, details of this heating process are still unclear and are being studied at this very moment.”

By way of comparison, Antarctica at it's coldest is about -120F. However, these kinds of surface temperatures at the distance of Saturn is pretty special.

Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Wednesday, 1 December 2010 00:50 (seven years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

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 (six years ago) Permalink

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

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


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

two 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 (six 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 (six years ago) Permalink

I love me that probe.

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

are they investigating the whole enceladus?

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

three 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 (six years ago) Permalink


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

Crazy great.

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

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

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

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

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

five months pass...

Time to migrate.

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

two 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 (five 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 (five years ago) Permalink

some more links

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

two weeks pass...
four months pass...

Looking at landslides on Iapetus:

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

one month passes...

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

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

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

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

holy fuck, that's amazing

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

O_O at the hexagon

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


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

the hexagon does not care, it does not love

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

three 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 (five years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Dear god I love this kind of stuff.

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

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