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Posts Tagged "Saturn"

Basic Space

A little perspective on our place in the universe

Saturn, Earth and the moon as seen by Cassini

Here are some things that will give whatever might be on your mind at the moment a little perspective. You’ve probably seen these images plastered all over the Internet already. But seeing as I blogged about the new pale blue dot before it was taken, here they are: That’s Saturn, the Earth and moon as [...]

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Basic Space

Today’s the day! A new pale blue dot

newrings_cassini_big_square

Where will you be at 10.27pm (UK time) tonight? The Cassini spacecraft will be somewhere behind Saturn. But it’ll be looking at Earth, at us. So we’d better make sure we’re looking back. And don’t forget to smile — you’ll be on camera. Cassini is going to snap a picture of Earth, taking advantage of [...]

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Basic Space

Cassini spots snowballs punching through one of Saturn’s rings

Six images of the mini jets taken by Cassini between 2005 and 2008. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/QMUL

Objects half a mile in diameter have been spotted punching through Saturn’s outermost ring, the F ring, and leaving glittering trails as they drag icy particles behind them. Scientists are calling these trails mini-jets. The scientists were actually looking at Prometheus, one of Saturn’s small moons, when they saw the first of the trails. They [...]

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Basic Space

A week in space: Cassini dips down to Enceladus, a solar flare erupts, Discovery moves, and more

Unprocessed image of Enceladus was taken last weekend. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

If I lived elsewhere in the multiverse, this is the news and cool space stuff I’d have been covering this week. Unfortunately, in this universe I didn’t have the time. Last weekend, Cassini dipped down close to Enceladus to “taste” the jets that erupt from its surface. For some background on Enceladus, see my entry [...]

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Basic Space

Explaining Titan’s Alien Weather System

A composite image taken by Cassini on a fly by in 2005. This is roughly what Titan would look like to the human eye. Credit: {link url="http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06230"}NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute{/link}

Underneath Titan’s dense atmosphere lies something rather unusual, by terrestrial standards. Some features of the Saturnian moon, at first glance, might look similar to some features we have on Earth — it is the only other body in the solar system with lakes, and appears to have an active weather system. But instead of water, [...]

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Basic Space

Cassini helps us peek underneath the surface of Enceladus

Tiger stripes on Enceladus

The Cassini spacecraft is zooming around Saturn as I type, currently in between two flybys of Saturn’s moon Titan – one was in June, the next will be September. It was supposed to explore Saturn and its moons for only four years between 2004 and 2008. But after two mission extensions it is still going [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Earth Waves To Saturn: The Pictures

IMG004880-br500

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words, or in this case 1,400 pictures are worth a few words. Here is the collage of images uploaded by people across the planet for NASA’s Cassini ‘Wave at Saturn’ event on July 19th 2013, while Cassini snapped Earth in turn, as a teeny, tiny dot of [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Return To The Pale Blue Dot

The original pale blue dot - Earth from 3.7 billion miles away (NASA/JPL/Voyager)

One of the most enduring and captivating images from our exploration of space in the late 20th century was Voyager 1′s mosaic of our own solar system – a family portrait from 3.7 billion miles away. Captured in these shots was a faint speck of bluish light, in one single pixel of Voyager’s digital camera, [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Vortex

Northern polar view (NASA/Cassini)

This is simply too good to pass up, although it’s been doing the rounds online. As the seasons change on Saturn the north polar region is now getting its share of faint solar illumination. Cassini recently (very recently, as in Nov 27th) took this amazing image of the swirling atmospheric circulation at the northern pole [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Exo-cornucopia

Watch out! There's a lot of stuff up there...

  This has been an extraordinary week for planets (moons), exoplanets, and astrobiology. I’m hard pushed to write properly about all these things but sometimes the sheer tidal mass of discoveries tells its own story.       And tidal masses is the first one up. This week new results from the Cassini mission around [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Saturn Is Alive, No CGI

Janus above Saturn (NASA/Cassini)

It seems that the Saturnian system just keeps on giving when it comes to amazing imagery. Of course it helps to have a $3 billion space mission in place like Cassini to record everything going on. From Saturn The Movie, to The Austere Beauty Of Other Worlds, and Raw Footage From An Alien World, I’ve [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Raw Footage From An Alien World

Swinging around, Enceladus against a backdrop of noise and what may be stars (Cassini raw image)

Have you ever wondered what it would really be like for a person to journey to a truly distant and alien place; another planet, even another planetary system? What kind of things would we first see through our windows, or our cameras? What would our sensory experience be in such a distant realm? Would we [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Austere Beauty of Other Worlds

Magnificent Saturn, subtle blue and gold tones, while its moon Dione circles in silence (NASA/JPL)

In the northern winter months we are surrounded by the stark beauty of chilled landscapes. From the darkness of the far north, broken perhaps only by starlight and the glow of aurora, to the brisk grey streets of Manhattan and its now skeletal trees with their claw-like limbs and knobbly stubs pressed to the skies, [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Saturn, the movie

Saturn post equinox

This extraordinary excerpt is from an upcoming Imax movie that uses Cassini orbiter imagery (NO computer generated images) to create some stunning flybys and flythroughs of the Saturnian system. Cassini has taken so many high-res pictures that this stitched together footage is possible. All I can say is “wow”. We truly are a species that [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Smoke signals

PIA12826-br500

Oh weather; a joy, a pain, the making of a beautiful day or a miserable evening. Our planetary environment is constantly shuffling through a deck of thermodynamic cards and local conditions reflect a small part of the resultant lofting, pouring, steaming, streaming and meandering of atmospheric contents. All planets with atmospheres walk this same basic [...]

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Observations

This Video Montage of Saturn’s Rings and Moons Is Simply Gorgeous [Video]

For more than nine years, NASA’s Cassini probe has orbited Saturn, examining its rings and moons in unprecedented detail and sending back images of things and places humans had never seen. Filmmaker Fabio di Donato has managed to collapse that discovery and wonder into four minutes. In a new film posted on Vimeo, di Donato [...]

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Observations

Cassini Spacecraft Takes 1 Last Look at Home Today

Photo credit: CICLOPS, JPL, ESA, NASA

For a quarter-hour today, some of us on Earth can look up and know that almost a billion miles away, above the sky, a set of robotic eyes is looking right back. The Cassini spacecraft will be passing into Saturn’s shadow at that time, slewing its cameras to catch the planet’s majestic rings backlit by [...]

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Observations

Cassini Spacecraft Reveals Unprecedented Saturn Storm

Saturn storm, 2011

Just as regions of our planet have monsoon season, or tornado season, so too does Saturn have its own stormy season. Once every Saturn year or so—which corresponds to roughly 30 Earth years—a giant, churning storm works its way through the clouds of Saturn’s northern hemisphere, sometimes encircling the entire planet like a belt. Lasting [...]

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Observations

Water from a Saturnian Moon Rains Down on the Ringed Planet

Enceladus water jets

Enceladus, a small satellite of Saturn, has captivated planetary scientists for years with its watery polar geysers and ridgelike surface features known as "tiger stripes." Now it has a new layer of intrigue. The gas and ice escaping from Enceladus and shooting out from the moon’s south pole in towering jets, which fill Saturn’s diffuse [...]

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Observations

Something slammed into the rings of Saturn and Jupiter

PASADENA—This week I’m here at the annual Division for Planetary Sciences meeting. Much as I enjoy Pasadena, it’s rather a comedown from last year’s meeting place in Puerto Rico. Leave aside the natural attractions: even the freeways in Puerto Rico are in better repair than California’s. Then again, we don’t come here for the earthly [...]

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PsiVid

“In Saturn’s Rings” Movie Trailer

In Saturn's Rings

If you love the programs at planetariums or the sci-fi films where you are visually propelled through the expanses of space, prepare yourself for a film specifically designed for the giant screen that explores the planet Saturn using only scientific photographs, primarily from the Cassini-Huygens mission, among others, stitched together and animated to full motion [...]

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The Countdown

The Countdown, Episode 20 – Star Factory, Five New Exoplanets, Saturn Ring Rain, Planet-Naming Controversy, Missing Mars Lander Found

5) Star Factory About 880 million years after the Big Bang, a huge galaxy was building new stars at an incredible pace. An international team of astronomers discovered the galaxy HFLS3 with help from 12 observatories all over the world. HFLS3 is a starburst galaxy, which means it turns gas into stars at an extremely [...]

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