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Thread: Cassini and Saturn's moons

  1. #691
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    totally awesome.



    Love how the video was tied in with a totally appropriate piece of music of just the right length

  2. #692
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    Dawn came through with some amazing close ups of Ceres. Now Cassini has done the same with Enceladus - enjoy

    http://www.popsci.com/cassini-missio...-flyby?image=0

    The Cassini spacecraft got one last good look at Enceladus on Saturday during its 22nd flyby of Saturn's icy, ocean-laden (and potentially habitable) moon.

    Passing at a distance of 3,106 miles, the Saturn-orbiting vehicle snapped these great photos and helped to add more detail of our maps of Enceladus.

  3. #693
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    Wow, it is Cassini's turn to highlight the massive ice mountain that stands 10,948 feet tall on Titan.

    http://www.popsci.com/cassini-finds-...rns-moon-titan

    Researchers have now identified the tallest peak on Saturn's moon Titan, a mountain that stands 10,948 feet tall. For comparison, Mount Everest stands over 29,000 feet above sea level.
    The peaks were measured by radar instruments on the Cassini spacecraft, which has been sending back data about the Saturn system since 2004.

    "It's not only the highest point we've found so far on Titan, but we think it's the highest point we're likely to find," said NASA researcher Stephen Wall, deputy lead of the Cassini radar team.

    The peaks were measured by radar instruments on the Cassini spacecraft, which has been sending back data about the Saturn system since 2004.

    "It's not only the highest point we've found so far on Titan, but we think it's the highest point we're likely to find," said NASA researcher Stephen Wall, deputy lead of the Cassini radar team.

  4. #694
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    Rats. The name Taniquetil is taken already, or that would be perfect for the highest peak. Caradhras is available...

  5. #695
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    Cassini is not done with Titan. She gave us the highest peak (see post #693) and now she found deep, steep-sided canyons that are flooded with liquid hydrocarbons.

    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/999755.shtml

    US space agency NASA said Wednesday its Cassini spacecraft has found deep, steep-sided canyons on Saturn's largest moon Titan that are flooded with liquid hydrocarbons.

    "The finding represents the first direct evidence of the presence of liquid-filled channels on Titan, as well as the first observation of canyons hundreds of meters deep," NASA said in a statement.

    The discovery, published in the US the journal Geophysical Research Letters, was based on data collected from a close flyby Cassini made over Titan in May 2013, during which the spacecraft's radar instrument focused on channels that branch out from the moon's second largest hydrocarbon sea Ligeia Mare.

    Previously, the branching channels appear dark in radar images, much like Titan's methane-rich seas, but it wasn't clear if the dark material was liquid or merely saturated sediment, which at Titan's frigid temperatures would be made of ice, not rock.

    So during the 2013 pass, the Cassini spacecraft pinged the surface of Titan with microwaves, and the returned signals indicated the surface of the channels is extremely smooth, meaning they are currently liquid filled.

  6. #696
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    Emily Lakdawalla on Cassini's camera views of Titan's polar lakes in summer, processed into pseudocolor.

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...tan-lakes.html

    The Cassini Saturn orbiter first spotted lakes in Titan's northern polar region using its radar instrument very early in the mission. The lakes were initially invisible to Cassini's optical instruments, because when Cassini arrived it was winter at the north pole, so no sunlight ever reached them. Over its long, long mission Cassini has seen Saturn and Titan go through equinox, and now they are approaching northern summer solstice. That keeps the lake district in the sunlight for most of the Titan day, and also gives sunlight a shorter path through Titan's smoggy atmosphere to the north pole, making images clearer. Recently, image processing enthusiast Ian Regan has been working with Cassini photos, developing his own recipe for processing the fuzzy raw frames into crisp, colorful views.

  7. #697
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    NASA's JPL on Cassini and Satutn's moons.

    https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/moons/

    Overview: The Voyager and Pioneer flybys of the 1970s and 1980s provided rough sketches of Saturn’s moons. But during its many years in Saturn orbit, Cassini discovered previously unknown moons, solved mysteries about known ones, studied their interactions with the rings and revealed how sharply different the moons are from one another.

    Key Points

    ♦Saturn’s dozens of moons range in size from larger than planet Mercury down to about the size of a sports arena.

    ♦Cassini found water continually spewing out of jets around the south polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and scientists concluded that its subsurface ocean has all the ingredients for life – liquid water, heat, and food (methane).

    ♦Among Saturn’s natural satellites, Cassini found the only known world aside from Earth’s moon to have a statically charged surface (Hyperion).

    ♦Saturn’s moons contribute material to Saturn’s rings and magnetosphere, but the moons also collect material from Saturn’s rings and magnetosphere.

  8. #698
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    New pictures of "The Death Star" from Star Wars

    https://www.inverse.com/article/2703...l-nasa-cassini

    "This dormant, eyeball-looking orb lurking in our solar system, is Tethys, one of Saturnís many moons. NASAís Cassini Spacecraft snagged this one of a kind image during a flyby in back in November 2016. Consisting mostly of ice and roughly 660 miles wide, Tethys is is actually one of the larger side of the family of moons that call the Saturnian orbit home.

    Because of Tethys location in Saturnís magnetosphere, it is both one of the brightest moons and the most bullied. It withstands contact with flying dust particles on a near daily basis. The result is a remarkably smooth and bright surface that results from a lifetime of being pummeled.

    One wild trait for Tethys: Its biggest crater is named Odysseus and takes up nearly half the size of the planet. Although scientists are unsure what might have impacted with the moon, they believe it happened 4.5 million years ago, around the same time the solar system formed"

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  9. #699
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    I assume they meant 4.5 billion, not million, years ago. Still, though. There's just about nothing in the Solar System that isn't amazing, eh?

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


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  10. #700
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    Best picture of Pan taken by Cassini and what a surprise it was

    http://www.seti.org/seti-institute/n...let-saturn-pan

    Everyone has been talking about this new image from Cassini showing a close up of the Saturn moonlet Pan – stunning! Stay tuned for a piece we’re working. In the meantime, did you know that Pan was discovered by SETI Institute scientist Mark Showalter, and that he named it? Find out more tomorrow!
    Another article on it.

    https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.p...s.xml&rst=6770

    These raw, unprocessed images of Saturn's tiny moon, Pan, were taken on March 7, 2017, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The flyby had a close-approach distance of 24,572 kilometers (15,268 miles).

    These images are the closest images ever taken of Pan and will help to characterize its shape and geology.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2017-Mar-10 at 10:51 AM.

  11. #701
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    I suddenly have a craving for sherbet.
    Last edited by parallaxicality; 2017-Mar-10 at 11:55 AM.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

  12. #702
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    Just too weird, is that "ring" around Pan a real feature on it's surface or just part of the raw unprocessed imaging?

  13. #703
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Just too weird, is that "ring" around Pan a real feature on it's surface or just part of the raw unprocessed imaging?
    My understanding is, it is real. Formed from the accumulation of dust from the rings.

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  14. #704
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    Thanks Selvaarchi, Mother Nature is full of surprises, esp bizarre ones. One strange body Pan.

  15. #705
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    Stone Trek Lives... a "real" flying saucer...I love it.

  16. #706
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    This article says they are not certain but the dust it picks up seems to be the best answer. Enjoy the other pictures of Pan in it.

    http://www.popsci.com/yo-saturn-has-...t-like-ravioli

    The new images come from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which was 15,268 miles away from Pan when it snapped the pasta-like pics. The bump is due to a prominent equatorial ridge that makes up about 10 percent of the tiny satellite's volume. Three of Saturn's moons host these equatorial bulges—the tiny Atlas seems to have a similar shape to Pan, and the larger Iapetus has one that kind of makes it look like a bath bomb—but they seem to be unique to the Saturnian system.

    Scientists aren't certain about the origin of these unique bulges, but Pan's may have something to do with its prime position in Saturn's orbit: In addition to being the planet's innermost known moon, it orbits within a gap in Saturn's A-ring. Even though Pan has a measly radius of around 8.8 miles, it's able to act as a "shepherd moon"—it keeps the 200-mile gap clear. It's possible the dumpling-like dimple comes from all the space dust Pan kicks up en route.

  17. #707
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    Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy fame has the best explanation of Pan I have come across so far. Thanks Phil.

    http://www.blastr.com/2017-3-10/no-a...ng-saucer-moon

    Because Pan orbits inside the rings, it can gravitationally attract the tiny ice particles that make up the rings, and pull them onto its surface. Now, despite being hundreds of thousands of kilometers wide, the rings of Saturn are incredibly thin, in places only just 10 meters thick! That’s the height of a two-story house*, for some perspective.

    Because Pan orbits exactly in the plane of the rings, when it pulls in the ice the particles land on its equator, all around the moon. This stuff piles up. On Earth, this would make on low, long ridge, because Earth’s gravity is strong, and the particles would slump if they piled up past a certain height.

    But Pan’s gravity is very weak, just one-ten thousandth as strong as Earth’s. You could easily throw a baseball off the surface and have it leave the moon forever. Because of that teeny force, the ring particles can pile up to tremendous height without slumping. The result is a slightly triangular wall that reaches more than seven kilometers off the surface in some places! That’s higher than any Rocky Mountain, and yet it presents a nearly vertical face. It’s a continuous, sinuous cliff as tall as a mountain ringing (haha) the moon.

  18. #708
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    Now it is Saturn's icy moon Mimas turn to be targeted by Cassini's cameras.

    http://zeenews.india.com/space/nasas...c_1986715.html

    NASA has released a high-resolution mosaic of Saturn's icy moon Mimas created using images from Cassini spacecraft.

    According to NASA, this mosaic, acquired at a distance of approximately 28,000 miles (45,000 kilometers) from Mimas, is one of the highest resolution views ever captured of the icy moon.

    In its season of 'lasts', NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its final close approach to Mimas on January 30, 2017. At closest approach, Cassini passed 25,620 miles (41,230 kilometers) from Mimas.

  19. #709
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    Now see Pan in 3D

    https://tecake.in/news/space/nasa-ca...pan-30503.html

    NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured 3D view of Saturn’s moon Pan using red-blue glasses. The US space agency has shared the images on its official website giving a new insight into the structure of the potato-shaped moon.

    The remarkable view shared by NASA shows both northern at left as well as southern hemispheres of Pan at the right. Apparently, scientists have rotated the view to maximise the stereo effect.

  20. #710
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    Perfect place to get pre-crushed ice.

    Fitting that this whimsy is named Pan

  21. #711
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    Cassini now gives as a picture of Atlas.

    https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/04/1...ssinis-camera/

    [QUOTEOne of Saturn’s peculiar moons has received an up-close look from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which sent back the best-ever pictures of Atlas, an object shaped like a flying saucer orbiting just outside the planet’s rings.
    Cassini took the images of Atlas on April 12 as it passed within about 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers) of the airless moon.
    Atlas circles Saturn just outside the A ring, the outermost of the planet’s main, bright rings, according to NASA. The disk-shaped moon is about 19 miles (30 kilometers) across, slightly larger than the moon Pan, which is similar in appearance.][/QUOTE]

  22. #712
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    This week end Cassini will change its course on to a path to its doom

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason...d-cassini.html

    This Saturday, in the pre-dawn hours of Earth Day, NASA's long-lived Saturn spacecraft will swing past Titan for the 127th and final time. The moon's gravity will bend Cassini's trajectory, sending it into a new orbit that will slice between Saturn's rings and the planet itself—a feat never before attempted.

    The new orbit will also seal Cassini's fate. Twenty-two orbits later, the probe will tumble into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15.
    Why end the mission? After 13 years of operations, Cassini is low on fuel, and NASA doesn't want to risk an accidental collision with the potentially habitable worlds of Enceladus and Titan.

    "Cassini's own discoveries were its demise," said project manager Earl Maize during a recent press conference. "Enceladus has a warm, saltwater ocean. We cannot risk inadvertent contact with that pristine body."*

  23. #713
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    While busy with its work sending us back as much information on Saturn as possible, Cassini does look back at the planet that created it occasionally.

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2017...s-home-planet/

    As it continues to make some of its final flybys of the Saturn system, the Cassini spacecraft hasn't entirely forgone looking back toward its home planet, Earth. And last week the spacecraft's camera snapped a shot of Earth and the Moon (visible in a close-cropped view) from a distance of 1.4 billion km away.

  24. #714
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    Congratulations to Cassini and NASA 😊

    http://www.latimes.com/science/scien...427-story.html

    "Great news Cassini fans! The NASA spacecraft successfully completed its first pass through the uncharted territory between Saturn and its rings late Wednesday.

    Hopefully the next 21 orbits through this never-before-explored space will be just as successful."

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  25. #715
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    Posting in this thread as it information is about one of Saturn's moon.


    http://www.space.com/36918-saturn-mo...ini-photo.html

    "Saturn's moon Enceladus has had a rough life ó and it's got the scars to prove it.

    A recently released photo by NASA's Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft shows the many craters, as well as snaking fissures and other geological features, pocking the northern reaches of 313-mile-wide (504 kilometers) Enceladus. "

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  26. #716
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    More information on Enceladus. It most probably got hit in the distance past and tilted by 55%.

    https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6860

    "Saturn's icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus may have tipped over in the distant past, according to recent research from NASA's Cassini mission. Researchers with the mission found evidence that the moon's spin axis -- the line through the north and south poles -- has reoriented, possibly due to a collision with a smaller body, such as an asteroid.

    Examining the moon's features, the team showed that Enceladus appears to have tipped away from its original axis by about 55 degrees -- more than halfway toward rolling completely onto its side. "We found a chain of low areas, or basins, that trace a belt across the moon's surface that we believe are the fossil remnants of an earlier, previous equator and poles," said Radwan Tajeddine, a Cassini imaging team associate at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and lead author of the paper."

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  27. #717
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    Emily Lakdawalla does her magic to give us comparisons of Saturn's small moons,

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...-to-scale.html

    Early in 2017, as Cassini began to circle the drain on its Saturn orbits, it was able to capture several images of the tiny, odd-shaped ring-moons from closer perspectives than ever before. I find it really hard to wrap my head around all the scales in the Saturn system so I thought it was time to produce another of my patented size comparisons of planetary bodies. As it turns out, there are orders of magnitudes of scales in the Saturn system and it wasn't sufficient for me to produce one such size comparison.

    Here's the first comparison I produced. When you enlarge it to its full resolution, it has 100 meters per pixel. These are all the smallish moons in close orbits around Saturn (with the exception of Phoebe, which is a bit out of place here, representing all the wayward irregular moons in distant orbits). It's astounding to me how much diversity and size variation there is even among Saturn's smallest moons. There's this weird transition from lumpy to smooth that happens at the very smallest sizes, where the tiniest moonlets appear to be covered with a gravity-smoothed, deep coating of ringsnow that must be the puffiest substance imaginable. I'll bet you could fly right into the outer layers of one of those moons and sploof out the other side, leaving in your wake a super-slow-motion eruption of fine ringsnow material that the motion of your passage produced.

  28. #718
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    The next article by Emily Lakdawalla is not about Cassini but a photo taken from earth of Saturn and Titan "lost" in the milky way.

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...the-milky.html

    Astrophotographer Damian Peach typically shoots photos achieving remarkable detail on the storms of Jupiter and rings of Saturn. Last week, he shared a different sort of view of Saturn that serves to remind us of its place in the sky, a wandering star (and companion) among stars.

  29. #719
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    I can see someone using that image--calling it an extrasolar planet orbiting a star up close.

  30. #720
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    Another picture taken by Cassini of the rings of Saturn. The scientists call it the "Ring-Bow".

    https://www.space.com/37623-saturn-r...a-cassini.html

    "Saturn's glorious rings take center stage in a beautiful new photo by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which scientists dubbing it a "ring-bow."

    "Although the rings lack the many colors of the rainbow, they arc across the sky of Saturn," NASA officials wrote in a photo description today (July 25). "From equatorial locations on the planet, they'd appear very thin since they would be seen edge-on. Closer to the poles, the rings would appear much wider; in some locations (for parts of Saturn's year), they would even block the sun for part of each day.""

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