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Latest Saturn Stories

Cassini Spots Tiny Moon Methone
2012-05-22 04:03:14

NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its closest approach to Saturn's tiny moon Methone as part of a trajectory that will take it on a close flyby of another of Saturn's moons, Titan. The Titan flyby will put the spacecraft in an orbit around Saturn that is inclined, or tilted, relative to the plane of the planet's equator. The flyby of Methone took place on May 20 at a distance of about 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers). It was Cassini's closest flyby of the 2-mile-wide (3-kilometer-wide) moon. The...

Cassini, Saturn Moon Photographer
2012-05-04 03:18:29

Shortly after passing Enceladus, Cassini had a non-targeted encounter of Dione. At closest approach, the spacecraft flew within about 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) of the moon. Cassini's cameras captured several mosaics during this encounter, including one taken around the time of closest approach that covered a fracture named Latium Chasma at resolutions of about 175 feet (53 meters) per pixel. Other mosaics cover much of Dione's northern hemisphere that faces away from Saturn in its orbit,...

Cassini To Probe Enceladus Gravity, Take Pictures
2012-05-02 04:03:26

NASA's Cassini spacecraft will be flying within about 46 miles (74 kilometers) of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Wednesday, May 2, aiming primarily to learn more about the moon's internal structure. The flyby is the third part of a trilogy of flybys -- the other two took place on April 28, 2010, and Nov. 30, 2010 -- for Cassini's radio science experiment. The radio science team is particularly interested in learning how mass is distributed under Enceladus' south polar region, which features jets...

Image 1 - Saturn Moon Has Planet-Like Properties, NASA Finds
2012-04-27 08:07:32

Phoebe, one of Saturn´s 60+ moons, has been found to have planet-like properties, NASA scientists discovered while analyzing swarms of data collected and transmitted by the Cassini orbiter. New analysis of images of Phoebe lead scientists to theorize how the 140-mile-in-diameter rock started life. They suggest that it began its life as a planetoid in the Kuiper belt, a much larger version of the asteroid belt that sits on the outer edge of our planetary system. The scientists...

Image 1 - Cassini Eyes Blazing Trails In Saturn’s F-ring
2012-04-25 03:30:19

Brett Smith for Redorbit.com [ Watch the Video ] Scientists studying images from NASA´s Cassini spacecraft have found evidence of massive snowballs dragging glittering trails from one of Saturn´s rings. Saturn´s F ring has often been thought to be the most affected of the giant plant´s rings, often changing its look over the course of hours. The orbiting debris field measures a few hundred miles wide and is shepherded around the planet by two moons,...

Image 1 - Investigating Titan's Chemical Factory
2012-04-25 03:20:22

Saturn's giant moon Titan hides behind a thick, smoggy atmosphere that's well known to scientists as one of the most complex chemical environments in the solar system. It's a productive "factory" cranking out hydrocarbons that rain down on Titan's icy surface and cloak it in soot. With a brutally cold surface temperature of around minus 270 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 170 degrees Celsius), the hydrocarbons form lakes of liquid methane and ethane. However, the most important raw ingredient in...

Image 1 - Lake On Titan Resembles One In Africa
2012-04-21 05:09:53

A new study based on data from the Cassini spacecraft suggests that a lake on one of Saturn's moons behaves similarly to the Etosha salt pan on Earth. A group led by Thomas Cornet of the Université de Nantes, France, a Cassini associate, found characteristics of Ontario Lake on Titan are similar to Etosha Pan in Namibia, Africa because it drains and refills from below. Etosha Pan is a lake bed that fills with a shallow layer of water from groundwater levels that rise during...


Latest Saturn Reference Libraries

9_97b760b54aa7e1f81283511b4e3ada292
2004-10-19 04:45:44

Cassini-Huygens Mission -- The Cassini unmanned space probe is intended to study Saturn and its moons. It was launched on October 15, 1997 and is estimated to enter Saturn's orbit on July 1, 2004. The mission is a joined NASA/ESA project. Cassini's principal objectives are to: -- determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamical behavior of the rings -- determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object -- determine the nature and...

Gas Giant
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Gas Giant -- A gas giant is a generic astronomical term invented by the science fiction writer James Blish to describe any large planet that is not composed mostly of rock or other solid matter. Gas giants may still have a solid core - in fact, it is expected that such a core is probably required for a gas giant to form - but the majority of its mass is in the form of gas (or gas compressed into a liquid state). Unlike rocky planets, gas giants do not have a well-defined surface. There...

4_2a3ec5950ad82c9b458cd93eed908c922
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Planet Neptune -- Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun. It is a gas giant. Orbiting so far from the sun, Neptune receives very little heat. Its 'surface' temperature is -218 degrees Celsius (below zero). However, the planet seems to have an internal source of heat. It is thought that this may be leftover heat generated by infalling matter during the planet's birth, now slowly radiating away into space. Neptune's atmosphere has the highest wind speeds in the solar system, up to...

4_131c677fc8e51de37052e5e410fd9c8b2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Uranus -- Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun. It is a gas giant. Physical characteristics Uranus is composed primarily of rock and various ices, with only about 15% hydrogen and a little helium (in contrast to Jupiter and Saturn which are mostly hydrogen). Uranus (and Neptune) are in many ways similar to the cores of Jupiter and Saturn minus the massive liquid metallic hydrogen envelope. It appears that Uranus does not have a rocky core like Jupiter and Saturn but rather...

4_75f4d6ac5758ae2da2f285fe4d468f3d2
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...

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Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'