Latest Rings of Saturn Stories

2005-12-06 17:25:00

WASHINGTON -- One of Saturn's moons is spraying icy particles into space from the area around its south pole, a sure sign of geologic activity, NASA reported on Tuesday. Recent images captured by the Cassini spacecraft reveal what looks at first like the narrow crescent shape of a solar eclipse, with plumes of particles being ejected from the Saturn moon Enceladus. "For planetary explorers like us, there is little that can compare to the sighting of activity on another solar system body,"...

2005-11-10 17:50:00

By watching a distant star as it passed behind Saturn's outer rings, Cornell University astronomers on NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn have found the most direct evidence to date of patterns, called gravitational wakes, within the planet's outer rings. The patterns, thin, parallel striations like spokes on a pinwheel, have been theorized since the 1970s, but their small scale (just 100 meters -- 328 feet -- wide) makes them impossible to see even with the spacecraft's...

2005-10-27 08:20:00

PPARC -- Images of Saturn's narrow and contorted F ring returned by cameras onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed phenomena not previously detected in any planetary ring. The findings are reported in Nature (27th October 2005). The F ring is notorious for exhibiting unusual structures, like "knots," "kinks," and "clumps" that continue to puzzle astronomers.  However, Cassini images have shown that the gravitational effect of the inner shepherding satellite, Prometheus, appears...

2005-09-17 09:55:00

JPL -- Scientists are celebrating the first Cassini spacecraft sighting of spokes, the ghostly radial markings discovered in Saturn's rings by NASA's Voyager spacecraft 25 years ago. A sequence of images taken on the side of the rings not illuminated by the sun has captured a few faint, narrow spokes in the outer B ring, about 3,500 kilometers long and about 100 kilometers wide (2,200 miles by 60 miles). Previously, scientists believed the visibility of spokes depended on the elevation of...

2005-09-07 07:54:51

NASA -- New observations from the Cassini spacecraft now at Saturn indicate the particles comprising one of its most prominent rings are trapped in ever-changing clusters of debris that are regularly torn apart and reassembled by gravitational forces from the planet. According to University of Colorado at Boulder Professor Larry Esposito of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, particle clusters in the outermost main ring, the A ring, range from the size of sedans to moving vans...

2005-06-22 12:15:00

NASA -- The Hubble Space Telescope's most detailed visible-light image ever taken of a narrow, dusty ring around the nearby star Fomalhaut (HD 216956), offers the strongest evidence yet that an unruly and unseen planet may be gravitationally tugging on the ring. Hubble unequivocally shows that the center of the ring is a whopping 1.4 billion miles (15 astronomical units) away from the star. This is a distance equal to nearly halfway across our solar system. The most plausible explanation,...

2005-05-23 15:05:00

JPL -- The Cassini spacecraft has obtained the most detailed look ever at Saturn's rings, including the B ring, which has eluded previous robotic explorers. Its structure seems remarkably different from its two neighbors, rings A and C. The origin of Saturn's rings is a mystery. The rings are an enormous, complex structure. From edge-to-edge, the ring system would not even fit in the distance between Earth and the Moon. The seven main rings are labeled in the order they were discovered. From...

2005-05-10 16:40:00

JPL -- In a spectacular kick-off to its first season of prime ring viewing, which began last month, the Cassini spacecraft has confirmed earlier suspicions of an unseen moon hidden in a gap in Saturn's outer A ring. A new image and movie show the new moon and the waves it raises in the surrounding ring material. The moon, provisionally named S/2005 S1, was first seen in a time-lapse sequence of images taken on May 1, 2005, as Cassini began its climb to higher inclinations in orbit around...

2005-05-05 07:40:00

JPL -- The Cassini spacecraft is about to embark on a new mission phase that will give it a ringside seat at Saturn -- literally. After concentrating on flybys of the stately planet's moons since arriving last year, Cassini will begin five months of extensive study of Saturn's magnificent rings. Knowing how the rings form and how long they have been there is a central question for the Cassini mission. Cassini will view the rings on their lit and unlit faces, both toward the Sun and away from...

2005-02-24 15:20:00

JPL -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft continues making new and exciting discoveries. New findings include wandering and rubble-pile moons; new and clumpy Saturn rings; splintering storms and a dynamic magnetosphere. "For the last seven months it has been a nonstop, science-packed mission. It has been a whirlwind, and already we have many new results," said Dr. Dennis Matson, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Weak, linear density waves caused in...

Latest Rings of Saturn Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Planetary Ring -- A planetary ring is a ring of dust and other small particles orbiting around a planet in a flat disc-shaped region. The most spectacular and famous planetary rings are those around Saturn, but all four of the solar system's gas giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) possess ring systems of their own. The origin of planetary rings is not precisely known, but they are thought to be unstable and dissipate over the course of tens or hundreds of millions of...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Prometheus -- Prometheus [pra-MEE-thee-us] is the third of Saturn's known satellites. It was discovered from photographs taken by Voyager during its encounter with Saturn by S. Collins and others. Prometheus acts as a shepherd satellite for the inner edge of Saturn's F Ring. The moon is extremely elongated about 145 by 85 by 62 kilometers (90 by 53 by 39 miles) in diameter. It has a number of ridges and valleys on its northern side. Several craters about 20...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Pan -- Pan, the innermost known satellite, was found from photographs taken by Voyager during its encounter with Saturn. It was discovered by Mark R. Showalter in 1990, 9 years after the Voyager encounter. Pan is located 133,583 kilometers from the center of Saturn and is within the Encke Gap of Saturn's A-ring. It acts as a shepherd and is responsible for keeping the Encke gap open. It has a diameter of 20 kilometers. ----- Discovered by: Mark R. Showalter;...

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Word of the Day
  • Good cheer; viands.
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The word 'bellycheer' may come from 'belle cheer', "good cheer".