Scientists working with images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have discovered strange half-mile-sized (kilometer-sized) objects punching through parts of Saturn’s F ring, leaving glittering trails behind them. These trails in the rings, which scientists are calling “mini-jets,” fill in a missing link in our story of the curious behavior of the F ring. As said Carl Murray, a Cassini imaging team member based at Queen Mary University of London, England he think the F ring is Saturn’s weirdest ring, and these latest Cassini results go to show how the F ring is even more dynamic than they ever thought.
A recent study finds that the lake known as Ontario Lacus on Saturn’s moon Titan (left) bears striking similarity to a salt pan on Earth known as the Etosha Pan (right). A group led by Thomas Cornet of the Université de Nantes, France, a Cassini associate, found evidence for long-standing channels etched into the lake bed within the southern boundary of the depression. This suggests that Ontario Lacus, previously thought to be completely filled with liquid hydrocarbons, could actually be a depression that drains and refills from below, exposing liquid areas ringed by materials like saturated sand or mudflats.
The Lyrids are a strong meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26 each year. The Lyrid meteor shower is expected to reach maximum intensity overnight from Saturday to Sunday (April 21 to 22), with the best observing opportunities coming between midnight and dawn on the 22nd local time, experts say. The moon will be nearly new at that time, so its glare shouldn’t drown out too many of the Lyrids’ brief flashes. The dark skies could make a big difference for meteor-watchers, because the Lyrids are historically a mild shower.
Less than three weeks after its last visit to the Saturnian moon Enceladus, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft returns for an encore. At closest approach on April 14, the spacecraft will be just as low over the moon’s south polar region as it was on March 27 46 miles, or 74 kilometers. Enceladus is the sixth-largest of the moons of Saturn. It was discovered in 1789 by William Herschel.
As said researchers the giant ridge around the middle of Saturn moon’s Iapetus that makes it resemble an oversize walnut may have essentially formed as a “hug” from a dead moon. Iapetus, the third-largest of Saturn’s moons. This enormous ridge wraps along its equator, reaching up to 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) high and 124 miles (200 km) wide, and encircles more than 75 percent of the moon. Altogether, the ridge may constitute about one-thousandth the mass of Iapetus.
The Lyrids are a strong meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26 each year. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, peaking at April 22, hence they are also called the Alpha Lyrids or April Lyrids. According to experts the Lyrid meteor shower peaks overnight from April 21 to April 22, with the best observing coming between midnight and dawn on the 22nd local time. The moon will be new at this time, so the Lyrids’ bright flashes won’t be drowned out by the glare of Earth’s nearest neighbor.
An asteroid with the size of a passenger jet zoomed near the Earth Sunday, on April 1,2012. The asteroid, which called 2012 EG5, was closer than the moon when it flew by Earth at 5:32 a.m. EDT (0932 GMT). According to Nasa the space rock is about 150 feet wide (46 meters). The asteroid 2012 EG5 crept within 143,000 miles (230,000 kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach, which is just over half the distance between Earth and the moon’s orbit.
On June 5-6 of this year, a rare celestial event, called a transit of Venus, will take place.Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. Venus and Earth are often called twins because they are similar in size, mass, density, composition and gravity. During the transit, Venus will pass directly in front of the sun from Earth’s perspective, appearing as a small, slowly moving black dot.
NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite (GALEX) snapped a spectacular photo of a wispy blue nebula with an odd twist. It looks like a giant human head in deep space. NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), which took the Cygnus Loop nebula photo, was launched in April 2003 on a mission to map vast areas of the sky in the ultraviolet range of the light spectrum. The spacecraft completed its primary mission in 2007 and was placed in standby mode as engineers prepare to shut it down for good later this year.