Latest Saturn Stories

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

2010-08-17 06:31:28

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has returned Saturnian moon images from its flyby late last week, revealing light and dark contrasts worthy of chiaroscuro painters like Caravaggio. The flyby on August 13 targeted the geyser moon Enceladus, but also brought Cassini close to two other moons--Tethys and Dione. The raw images include the best ones to date of Penelope crater on the icy moon Tethys . Penelope crater, which is 150 kilometers (90 miles) wide, is the second-largest crater on Tethys. Cassini...

2010-08-16 06:50:00

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has successfully completed its flyby over the "tiger stripes" in the south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus and has sent back images of its passage. The spacecraft also targeted the moon Tethys. The tiger stripes are actually giant fissures that spew jets of water vapor and organic particles hundreds of kilometers, or miles, out into space. While the winter is darkening the moon's southern hemisphere, Cassini has its own version of "night vision goggles" --...

2010-08-14 07:00:00

NASA's Cassini spacecraft started hunting for heat signatures at the "tiger stripes" in the dim south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Friday, Aug. 13. The closest approach will bring the spacecraft to within about 2,500 kilometers (1,600 miles) of the surface of Enceladus. The tiger stripes -- which are actually giant fissures that spew jets of water vapor and organic particles hundreds of kilometers, or miles, out into space - are hard to see in the visible-light spectrum because...

2010-08-13 07:56:14

Saturn's moon Titan ripples with mountains, and scientists have been trying to figure out how they form. The best explanation, it turns out, is that Titan is shrinking as it cools, wrinkling up the moon's surface like a raisin. A new model developed by scientists working with radar data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows that differing densities in the outermost layers of Titan can account for the unusual surface behavior. Titan is slowly cooling because it is releasing heat from its...

2010-08-04 06:45:00

Space researchers illuminate "Ëœone of the most perplexing puzzles in planetary science' An international team of scientists led by Dr Jonathan Nichols of the University of Leicester has discovered that Saturn's aurora, an ethereal ultraviolet glow which illuminates Saturn's upper atmosphere near the poles, pulses roughly once per Saturnian day. The length of a Saturnian day has been under much discussion since it was discovered that the traditional "Ëœclock' used to...

Latest Saturn Reference Libraries

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...

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...

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...

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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