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.
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.
Magnetic phenomenon that causes auroras on Earth has now surprisingly been discovered creating giant magnetic bubbles around Venus, a planet without a magnetic field. The Northern and Southern Lights on Earth are caused by magnetic lines of force breaking and connecting with each other. This process, known as magnetic reconnection, can explosively convert magnetic energy to heat and kinetic energy.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spots new images of Saturn’s moons Enceladus, Janus and Dione on March 27 and 28, 2012. The new photos reveal the plume of water ice and vapor that springs from the south pole of Enceladus, which is Saturn’s sixth largest moon,as well as the pockmarked surface of Dione and the tiny oblong shape of Janus. Cassini made a close flyby of Enceladus on March 27, swooping within about 46 miles (74 kilometers) of the moon’s surface.
For the first time, images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have enabled scientists to correlate the spraying of jets of water vapor from fissures on Saturn’s moon Enceladus with the way Saturn’s gravity stretches and stresses the fissures. As said Terry Hurford, a Cassini associate based at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. this new work gives scientists insight into the mechanics of these picturesque jets at Enceladus and shows that Saturn really stresses Enceladus.
Some zones encircling baby stars are far more popular than others, drawing crowds of giant planets while the other potential paths for orbits remain empty. Now computer simulations have revealed a plausible explanation of this phenomenon. Rather than occupying orbits at regular distances from a star, giant gas planets similar to Jupiter and Saturn appear to prefer to occupy certain regions in mature solar systems while staying clear of others.
Iapetus’ bizarre two-toned appearance, with one dark side and one bright side, has puzzled astronomers since the moon was first discovered by Giovanni Domenico Cassini in 1671. To better understand how this oddball Saturn moon formed and evolved, researchers are now studying the temperature variation across Iapetus’ differing surfaces by measuring the moon’s microwave emissions. Previous studies using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggest that migrating ice makes half of Iapetus reflective and bright, while the other side is cloaked in dust and darkness.