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Latest Saturn Stories

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2010-10-08 06:31:49

Scientists using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have learned that distinctive, colorful bands and splotches embellish the surfaces of Saturn's inner, mid-size moons. The reddish and bluish hues on the icy surfaces of Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea appear to be the aftermath of bombardments large and small. A paper based on the findings was recently published online in the journal Icarus. In it, scientists describe prominent global patterns that trace the trade routes for...

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2010-10-07 10:15:00

The rings of Saturn could have formed after a moon the size of Titan crashed into the developing planet, a researcher from the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in Boulder suggested earlier this week. Speaking during a meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Science in Pasadena, California, SWRI researcher Robin Canup suggested that the satellite likely had a mantle made of ice and a rocky core, and that tidal forces might have dislodged chunks of the mantle...

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2010-10-07 07:35:00

Saturn's icy moon Enceladus should not be one of the most promising places in our solar system to look for extraterrestrial life. Instead, it should have frozen solid billions of years ago. Located in the frigid outer solar system, it's too far from the sun to have oceans of liquid water -- a necessary ingredient for known forms of life -- on its surface. Some worlds, like Mars or Jupiter's moon Europa, give hints that they might harbor liquid water beneath their surfaces. Mars is about 4,200...

c57f6da2ff2ec87f90e5436aabcd8e341
2010-09-28 10:17:02

Turning a midsummer night's dream into reality, NASA's Cassini spacecraft began its new mission extension -- the Cassini Solstice Mission -- on Monday. The mission extension will take Cassini a few months past Saturn's northern summer solstice (or midsummer) through September 2017. It will enable scientists to study seasonal changes and other long-term weather changes on Saturn and its moons. Cassini had arrived just after Saturn's northern winter solstice in 2004, and the extension continues...

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2010-09-27 10:22:38

The Cassini spacecraft has made the first observations from within the radio aurora of another planet than Earth. The measurements, which were taken when the spacecraft flew through an active auroral region in 2008, show some similarities and some contrasts between the radio auroral emissions generated at Saturn and those at Earth.  Results were presented last week by Dr Laurent Lamy at the European Planetary Science Congress in Rome, and recently published in Geophysical Research...

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2010-09-24 11:25:14

A new movie and images showing Saturn's shimmering aurora over a two-day period are helping scientists understand what drives some of the solar system's most impressive light shows. The movie and images are part of a new study that, for the first time, extracts auroral information from the entire catalogue of Saturn images taken by the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer instrument (VIMS) aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft. These images and preliminary results are being presented by Tom...

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2010-09-24 06:19:39

NASA's Cassini spacecraft will swing high over Saturn's moon Titan on Friday, Sept. 24, taking a long, sustained look at the hazy moon. At closest approach, Cassini will fly within 8,175 kilometers (5,080 miles) above the hazy moon's surface. This flyby is the first in a series of high-altitude Titan flybys for Cassini over the next year and a half. Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer instrument will be probing Titan's stratosphere to learn more about its vertical structure as the...

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2010-09-22 14:15:00

How do scientists decide what images the Cassini spacecraft should take of Saturn and its moons? Students have the opportunity to learn the scientific process when they enter Cassini's Scientist for a Day Essay Contest. The contest is for students in grades 5 through 12. The deadline for entries is Wed., Oct. 27, 2010, at noon Pacific Time. Students will be presented with three scientifically interesting locations around Saturn or its moons for the Cassini spacecraft to capture. They will...

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2010-09-22 10:24:13

Titan's northern hemisphere is set for mainly fine spring weather, with polar skies clearing since the equinox in August last year.  Cassini's VIMS instrument has been monitoring clouds on Titan continuously since the spacecraft went into orbit around Saturn.  Now, a team led by S©bastien Rodriguez (AIM laboratory - Universit© Paris Diderot) has used more than 2000 VIMS images to create the first long-term study of Titan's weather that includes the equinox, using...

cb14d11c1442ed4f46a709f58609df491
2010-09-22 08:50:00

Titan, one of Saturn's moons, is the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere "” ten times denser than the atmosphere of Earth. Five years ago, the Cassini"“Huygens mission to Saturn, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and NASA, sent a probe through Titan's atmosphere, revealing that Titan is home to a landscape that includes hills, valleys and most notably lakes. A researcher involved with the mission, Prof. Akiva Bar-Nun of Tel Aviv University's Department...


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...

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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
cock-a-hoop
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'
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