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Latest Saturn Stories

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2010-06-03 12:40:00

People living in the northern hemisphere will be able to go out any night this week an hour after sunset and see Venus, Saturn and Mars. The planet Venus will be located slightly north of west, in the constellation Gemini.  To the left of Venus appearing in the constellation Leo, skywatchers will be able to spot Mars.  Then, further to the left of Mars will be Saturn shining in the western part of the constellation Virgo. All three planets will appear across a 71-degree angle in...

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2010-05-20 09:05:00

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is on its way to a flyby of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, after capturing some stunning images of Enceladus. One view shows the hazy outline of Titan behind Saturn's rings, with the dark curve of Enceladus at the bottom. In other images, Enceladus put its craggy face forward, exhibiting some of the fractures and cratering that have made the Saturnian moon a favorite of both planetary scientists and outer-planet mission groupies. A view of Enceladus' terminator was...

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2010-05-17 17:00:00

About a month and a half after its last double flyby, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will be turning another double play this week, visiting the geyser moon Enceladus and the hazy moon Titan. The alignment of the moons means that Cassini can catch glimpses of these two contrasting worlds within less than 48 hours, with no maneuver in between. Cassini will make its closest approach to Enceladus late at night on May 17 Pacific time, which is in the early hours of May 18 UTC. The spacecraft will pass...

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2010-05-12 07:25:00

It appears flash flooding has paved streambeds in the Xanadu region of Saturn's moon Titan with thousands of sparkling crystal balls of ice, according to scientists with NASA's Cassini spacecraft. By analyzing the way the terrain has scattered radar beams, scientists deduce the spheres measure at least a few centimeters (inches) and maybe up to a couple of meters (yards) in diameter. The spheres likely originated as part of water-ice bedrock in higher terrain in Xanadu. "What we believe...

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2010-05-07 08:35:00

Engineers have shifted NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft into a mode that transmits only spacecraft health and status data while they diagnose an unexpected change in the pattern of returning data. Preliminary engineering data received on May 1 show the spacecraft is basically healthy, and that the source of the issue is the flight data system, which is responsible for formatting the data to send back to Earth. The change in the data return pattern has prevented mission managers from decoding...

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2010-05-04 10:00:00

NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its 26-hour gravity observation at Saturn's moon Enceladus last week, sending back data scientists will use to understand the moon's interior composition and structure. The flyby took Cassini through the water-rich plume flaring out from Enceladus' south polar region, with a closest approach of about 100 kilometers (60 miles) occurring in the late afternoon of April 27, 2010, Pacific Time, or just after midnight April 28 UTC. A steady radio...

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2010-04-29 11:20:00

With the help of amateur astronomers, the composite infrared spectrometer instrument aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft has taken its first look at a massive blizzard in Saturn's atmosphere. The instrument collected the most detailed data to date of temperatures and gas distribution in that planet's storms. The data showed a large, turbulent storm, dredging up loads of material from the deep atmosphere and covering an area at least five times larger than the biggest blizzard in this year's...

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2010-04-28 08:23:49

Jonathan Lunine's research involves spacecraft missions and the exploration of planets, moons and other celestial bodies in our solar system and beyond. Ever since he was 4 years old, Jonathan Lunine has had stars and planets on his mind. "I grew up in New York, close to the Hayden Planetarium. It was the time of the Apollo moon landings, and unmanned space exploration missions were getting under way," he said. "I wanted to be a part of that." On April 27, Lunine, a professor in the...

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2010-04-27 13:21:22

NASA's Cassini spacecraft will be gliding low over Saturn's moon Enceladus for a gravity experiment designed to probe the moon's interior composition. The flyby, which will take Cassini through the water-rich plume flaring out from Enceladus's south polar region, will occur on April 27 Pacific time and April 28 UTC. At closest approach, Cassini will be flying about 100 kilometers (60 miles) above the moon's surface. Cassini's scientists plan to use the radio science instrument to measure the...

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2010-04-15 06:30:00

Observations of how Saturn's moon Enceladus interacts with its environment show it leaves a complex pattern of ripples and bubbles in its wake. Sheila Kanani will be presenting the results at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Glasgow on Thursday April 15th. Enceladus sits deep within Saturn's magnetosphere, which is filled with electrically charged particles (plasma) originating from both the planet and its moons. The Cassini spacecraft has made nine flybys of the mysterious sixth-largest...


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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