Latest Moons of Saturn Stories

2009-12-31 07:40:00

A stunning view of Saturn from NASA's Cassini spacecraft has made Time Magazine's 2009 "Year in Pictures." The photo, released in September and dubbed "The Rite of Spring," was the first up close view from a spacecraft from Earth of Saturn's equinox, when the sun's disk is directly overhead at Saturn's equator. That sun angle illuminates the gas giant's famous rings edge-on, opening up a new perspective. As Cassini imaging team leader Carolyn Porco tells Time, "The geometry revealed...

2009-12-23 14:55:00

Like sugar plum fairies in "The Nutcracker," the moons of Saturn performed a celestial ballet before the eyes of NASA's Cassini spacecraft. New movies frame the moons' silent dance against the majestic sweep of the planet's rings and show as many as four moons gliding around one another. To celebrate the holidays, the Cassini imaging team has created a video collection of "mutual events," which occur when one moon passes in front of another, as seen from the spacecraft. Imaging scientists use...

2009-12-19 09:10:00

NASA's Cassini Spacecraft has captured the first flash of sunlight reflected off a lake on Saturn's moon Titan, confirming the presence of liquid on the part of the moon dotted with many large, lake-shaped basins. Cassini scientists had been looking for the glint, also known as a specular reflection, since the spacecraft began orbiting Saturn in 2004. But Saturn's northern hemisphere, which has more lakes than the southern hemisphere, has been veiled in winter darkness. The sun only began to...

2009-12-15 12:40:00

Planetary scientist Francis Nimmo will outline the impact of ice dynamics on the habitability of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter on Tuesday, December 15, at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. Scientists once thought that life could originate only within a solar system's "habitable zone," where a planet would be neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on its surface. But according to Nimmo, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the...

2009-12-10 15:15:38

Extensive analyses and modeling of Cassini imaging and heat-mapping data have confirmed and extended previous ideas that migrating ice, triggered by infalling reddish dust that darkens and warms the surface, may explain the mysterious two-toned "yin-yang" appearance of Saturn's moon Iapetus. The results, published online Dec. 10 in a pair of papers in the journal Science, provide what may be the most plausible explanation to date for the moon's bizarre appearance, which has puzzled...

2009-12-09 15:00:00

After waiting years for the sun to illuminate Saturn's north pole again, cameras aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft have captured the most detailed images yet of the intriguing hexagon shape crowning the planet. The new images of the hexagon, whose shape is the path of a jet stream flowing around the north pole, reveal concentric circles, curlicues, walls and streamers not seen in previous images. Images and the three-frame animation are available at http://www.nasa.gov/cassini ,...

2009-11-29 12:10:00

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) suggest that the eccentricity of Saturn's orbit around the sun may be responsible for the unusually uneven distribution of methane and ethane lakes over the northern and southern polar regions of the planet's largest moon, Titan. On Earth, similar "astronomical forcing" of climate drives ice-age cycles. A paper describing the theory appears in the November 29th advance online edition of Nature Geoscience. As revealed by Synthetic...

2009-11-24 14:55:00

In the first video showing the auroras above the northern latitudes of Saturn, Cassini has spotted the tallest known "northern lights" in the solar system, flickering in shape and brightness high above the ringed planet. The new video reveals changes in Saturn's aurora every few minutes, in high resolution, with three dimensions. The images show a previously unseen vertical profile to the auroras, which ripple in the video like tall curtains. These curtains reach more than 1,200 kilometers...

2009-11-23 12:10:00

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sailed seamlessly through the Nov. 21 flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus and started transmitting uncalibrated temperature data and images of the rippling terrain. These data and images will be processed and analyzed in the coming weeks. They will help scientists create the most-detailed-yet mosaic image of the southern part of the moon's Saturn-facing hemisphere and a contiguous thermal map of one of the intriguing "tiger stripe" features, with the highest...

2009-10-23 15:15:00

As Saturn's rings orbit the planet, a section is typically in the planet's shadow, experiencing a brief night lasting from 6 to 14 hours. However, once approximately every 15 years, night falls over the entire visible ring system for about four days. This happens during Saturn's equinox, when the sun is directly over Saturn's equator. At this time, the rings, which also orbit directly over the planet's equator, appear edge-on to the sun. During equinox, light from the sun hits the ring...

Latest Moons of Saturn Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:44

Lagrangian Point -- In Lagrangian mechanics, a Lagrangian point (or L-point) is one of five positions in space where the gravitational fields of two bodies of substantial but differing mass combine to form a point at which a third body of negligible mass would be stationary relative to the two bodies. Bodies at the L-point will not move relative to the parent bodies if they are not perturbed by other gravitational forces. They are sometimes also referred to as libration points. The...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Phoebe -- Phoebe is the outermost of Saturn's known moons. Phoebe is almost 4 times more distant from Saturn than its nearest neighbor (Iapetus). It was discovered by William Henry Pickering in 1898. Most of Saturn's moons have very bright surfaces, but Phoebe's albedo is very low (.06), as dark as lampblack. All of Saturn's moons except for Phoebe and Iapetus orbit very nearly in the plane of Saturn's equator. Phoebe's orbit is retrograde, inclined almost 175, and is...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Titan -- Titan is the planet Saturn's largest moon. It is larger than either of the planets Mercury or Pluto and is the second-largest moon in the solar system after Ganymede (it was originally thought to be slightly larger than Ganymede, but recent observations have shown that its thick atmosphere caused overestimation of its diameter). Titan was discovered on March 25, 1655 by the Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens, making it one of the first non-terrestrial moons to be...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Rhea -- Rhea is the second largest moon of Saturn. It was discovered in 1672 by Giovanni Cassini. Rhea is an icy body with a density of about 1.24 gm/cm3. This low density indicates that it has a rocky core taking up less than one-third of the moon's mass with the rest composed of water-ice. Rhea's features resemble those of Dione, with dissimilar leading and trailing hemispheres, suggesting similar composition and histories. The temperature on Rhea is -174°C in direct...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Helene -- Helene is a moon of Saturn, discovered by Laques and Lecacheux in 1980 from ground-based observations. It is co-oribtal with Dione and located in its leading Lagrangian point (L4) and hence is sometimes referred to as "Dione B". ----- Orbital radius: 377,400 km Diameter: 33 km (36 x 32 x 30) Mass: Unknown Orbital period: 2.7369 days Orbital inclination: 0.2 ----- NASA Learn more on this topic from eLibrary here:

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Word of the Day
  • A 'bachelor seal'; a young male seal which is prevented from mating by its herd's older males (mated bulls defending their territory).
This comes from the Russian word for 'bachelors.'