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

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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

two 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 (four years ago) Permalink

one 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 (four years ago) Permalink

And the photo for real...

That's us in the right-middle

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 00:02 (four years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
three weeks pass...

Just read this short ebook, a Kindle single, The Pioneer Detectives: Did a Distant Spacecraft Prove Einstein and Newton Wrong? by Konstantin Kakaes, which I recommend to you, despite the sensationalist title.

I Am the Cosimo Code (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 8 September 2013 20:24 (four years ago) Permalink

As griping in its way as one of those Scandinavian procedurals in which much coffee is drunk and many cigarettes are smoked whilst the investigators vainly search for a lead.

I Am the Cosimo Code (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 8 September 2013 20:39 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Fucking amazing.

Eyeball Kicks, Thursday, 17 October 2013 18:27 (four years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, NASA's Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn's shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings -- and, in the background, our home planet, Earth.

This image spans about 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across.

info and larger versions showing earth, mars, venus and moons.

fit and working again, Wednesday, 13 November 2013 20:47 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
four months pass...

Look out honey, 'cause I'm using cosmology.

Bo Diddley Is A Threadkiller (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 17:02 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

May as well put this here too.
Went to the Mt Wilson Observatory, saw a few things through the 60" telescope. Saw Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, the entire Sombrero galaxy (M104), a globular cluster (M3), and the Cat's Eye nebula.

Only Saturn seemed like it would turn out well on my point-and-shoot, so it's the only one I attempted (camera held right up to the eyepiece). It looked much more distinct in person, I could see streaks on its surface and a black band separating the sections of the rings. Seeing Sombrero was the most impressive - an entire galaxy in the view of my puny eye.

nickn, Monday, 26 May 2014 04:38 (three years ago) Permalink

Hooray, someone made it to the Atlas Obscura event! (couldn't go myself)

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 26 May 2014 19:31 (three years ago) Permalink

Cool picture regardless of conditions

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 26 May 2014 19:31 (three years ago) Permalink

Actually this was a fundraiser for the Black Rock Observatory, a Burning Man project.

The AO event is at the end of June.

nickn, Tuesday, 27 May 2014 16:44 (three years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

Mysterious 'magic island' appears on Saturn's moon Titan

Now you don't see it. Now, you do. And now you don't see it again. Astronomers have discovered a bright, mysterious geologic object -- where one never existed -- on Cassini mission radar images of Ligeia Mare, the second-largest sea on Saturn's moon Titan. Scientifically speaking, this spot is considered a "transient feature," but the astronomers have playfully dubbed it "Magic Island."

Reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience June 22, the scientists say this may be the first observation of dynamic, geological processes in Titan's northern hemisphere. "This discovery tells us that the liquids in Titan's northern hemisphere are not simply stagnant and unchanging, but rather that changes do occur," said Jason Hofgartner, a Cornell University graduate student in the field of planetary sciences, and the paper's lead author. "We don't know precisely what caused this 'magic island' to appear, but we'd like to study it further."

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 25 June 2014 06:51 (three years ago) Permalink

Ten years in orbit

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 30 June 2014 22:12 (three years ago) Permalink

Ten years! Amazing work all this time.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 30 June 2014 22:13 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Is there a general "space images" thread that I should have posted this in?

nickn, Thursday, 7 August 2014 17:38 (three years ago) Permalink

But when is Rosetta going to do a flyby of Uranus

, Thursday, 7 August 2014 17:38 (three years ago) Permalink

xp there's this: Astronomy Picture Of The Day

fit and working again, Thursday, 7 August 2014 17:57 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Swirling Cloud at Titan's Pole is Cold and Toxic

Scientists analyzing data from NASA's Cassini mission have discovered that a giant, toxic cloud is hovering over the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, after the atmosphere there cooled dramatically.

The scientists found that this giant polar vortex contains frozen particles of the toxic compound hydrogen cyanide, or HCN.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 1 October 2014 23:03 (three years ago) Permalink

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