NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took this raw, unprocessed image of Saturn’s moon Rhea on March 10, 2012. Rhea is the second-largest moon of Saturn and the ninth largest moon in the Solar System. It was discovered in 1672 by Giovanni Domenico Cassini. Saturn’s second largest moon Rhea is an icy body with a density of about 1.236 g/cm3. Rhea is named after the Titan Rhea of Greek mythology, “mother of the gods”.
In new photo, snapped by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on January 5, 2012, Saturn’s rings cast shadows on the huge planet. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is visible just below the rings, in the upper right of the picture. Just above the rings sits the tiny moon Prometheus, barely visible as a tiny white speck. At 3,200 miles (5,150 kilometers) in diameter, Titan is nearly 50 percent wider than Earth’s moon. The only moon in our solar system larger than Titan is Ganymede, which orbits Jupiter.
A new study finds strange, gigantic explosions fueled by solar energy detonate just above the surface of Venus.The huge eruptions, known as hot flow anomalies (HFAs), have been seen before near Earth, Saturn and possibly Mars. According to researchers the new observation is the first unambiguous confirmation of the phenomenon on Venus. It also shows that HFAs there are far different than what happens near our planet, which has a strong magnetic field.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has “sniffed” molecular oxygen ions around Saturn’s icy moon Dione for the first time, confirming the presence of a very tenuous atmosphere. The oxygen ions are quite sparse, one for every 0.67 cubic inches of space (one for every 11 cubic centimeters of space) or about 2,550 per cubic foot (90,000 per cubic meter), show that Dione has an extremely thin neutral atmosphere.
This series of false-color images obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows the dissolving cloud cover over the north pole of Saturn’s moon Titan. The images, obtained by Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS), cover 2006 to 2009, when Titan was transitioning from northern winter to northern spring. In 2006, the north polar cloud appeared dense and opaque. But in spectrometer images obtained around the 2009 equinox, when the sun was directly over Saturn and Titan’s equators and northern winter was turning into spring, the cloud appeared much thinner and patchier.
Saturn two biggest moons hang together in a stunning new photo from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.The image shows the heavily cratered Rhea in the foreground, while the hazy orb of the huge moon Titan looms in the distance.Cassini snapped the shot in visible green light on December 10, 2011, and it was released to the public on February 13. According to researchers Cassini was about 808,000 miles (1.3 million kilometers) from Rhea and 1.2 million miles (2 million km) from Titan when it took the picture. Titan is the largest of Saturn’s many satellites, at 3,200 miles (5,150 km) wide, it’s nearly 1.5 times bigger than Earth’s moon.
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune all have rings, leaving Pluto as the only outer planet without rings. But PSI Senior Scientist Henry Throop would love to change that. Using both giant telescopes on Earth, and a small spacecraft currently on its way to Pluto, Throop is searching for signs that Pluto may have rings orbiting it, just like its neighbors. Astronomers expect that Pluto could well have rings, they’ve just never been discovered. Until now astronomers haven’t found any rings. Throop is working with NASA’s New Horizons mission, which is sending a spacecraft to Pluto, to arrive in 2015.
A new analysis of radar data from NASA’s Cassini mission, in partnership with the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, has revealed regional variations among sand dunes on Saturn’s moon Titan. The result gives new clues about the moon’s climatic and geological history. Dune fields are the second most dominant landform on Titan, after the seemingly uniform plains, so they offer a large-scale insight into the moon’s peculiar environment. The dunes cover about 13 percent of the surface, stretching over an area of 4 million square miles (10 million square kilometers). Though similar in shape to the linear dunes found on Earth in Namibia or the Arabian Peninsula, Titan’s dunes are gigantic by our standards.
The lower atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan is strongly structured, with two distinct layers that affect wind patterns, dune spacing and cloud formation, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Geoscience.