Category: saturn

Possible variations in chemical composition …

Possible variations in chemical composition from one part of Saturn’s ring system to another are visible in this Voyager 2 picture as subtle color variations that can be recorded with special computer-processing techniques.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Saturn Rings and Moons: From left, the moons…

Saturn Rings and Moons: From left, the moons are Janus, Pandora, Enceladus, Mimas and Rhea. Following the images below, Enceladus e Tethys, Titan, Rhea and Mimas. Enceladus e Tethys.

by Gordan Ugarkovic

These swirls of red light are an aurora on t…

These swirls of red light are an aurora on the south pole of Saturn.

 Image: NASA/ESA/STScI/A. Schaller. 

The mosaic shown here was composed with data…

The mosaic shown here was composed with data from Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer taken during the Titan flyby Dec. 26, 2005.

Credit: NASA

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The diversity of worlds in our solar system (climate and geology)…

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The Great Red Spot is a persistent high-pressure region in the atmosphere of Jupiter, producing an anticyclonic storm 22° south of the planet’s equator. It has been continuously observed for 188 years, since 1830. Earlier observations from 1665 to 1713 are believed to be of the same storm; if this is correct, it has existed for at least 350 years. Such storms are not uncommon within the turbulent atmospheres of gas giants.

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With over 400 active volcanoes, Io is the most geologically active object in the Solar System. This extreme geologic activity is the result of tidal heating from friction generated within Io’s interior as it is pulled between Jupiter and the other Galilean satellites—Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

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Europa has the smoothest surface of any known solid object in the Solar System. The apparent youth and smoothness of the surface have led to the hypothesis that a water ocean exists beneath it, which could conceivably harbor extraterrestrial life.

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Neptune, the eighth and farthest planet from the sun, has the strongest winds in the solar system. At high altitudes speeds can exceed 1,100 mph. That is 1.5 times faster than the speed of sound. In 1989, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft made the first and only close-up observations of Neptune.

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Ganymede  is the largest and most massive moon of Jupiter and in the Solar System.

Possessing a metallic core, it has the lowest moment of inertia factor of any solid body in the Solar System and is the only moon known to have a magnetic field. (Sounds of Ganymede’s magnetosphere).

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Saturn’s hexagon is a persisting hexagonal cloud pattern around the north pole of Saturn, located at about 78°N. The sides of the hexagon are about 13,800 km (8,600 mi) long, which is more than the diameter of Earth (about 12,700 km (7,900 mi)).

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Miranda’s surface has patchwork regions of broken terrain indicating intense geological activity in Miranda’s past, and is criss-crossed by huge canyons. It also has the largest known cliff in the Solar System, Verona Rupes, which has a height of over 5 km (3.1 mi). 

Some of Miranda’s terrain is possibly less than 100 million years old based on crater counts, which suggests that Miranda may still be geologically active today.

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Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. It is about 500 kilometers (310 mi) in diameter, about a tenth of that of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. 

Evidence of liquid water on Enceladus began to accumulate in 2005, when scientists observed plumes containing water vapor spewing from its south polar surface, with jets moving 250 kg of water vapor every second at up to 2,189 km/h (1,360 mph) into space.

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Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It is the only moon known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object in space, other than Earth, where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found.

Triton is one of the few moons in the Solar System known to be geologically active (the others being Jupiter’s Io and Europa, and Saturn’s Enceladus and Titan). As a consequence, its surface is relatively young with few obvious impact craters, and a complex geological history revealed in intricate cryovolcanic and tectonic terrains. Part of its surface has geysers erupting sublimated nitrogen gas, contributing to a tenuous nitrogen atmosphere less than 1/70,000 the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere at sea level.

source: wikipedia~

image credit: data and images from NASA

Saturn and its moons: Mimas, Epimetheus, Tethy…

Saturn and its moons: Mimas, Epimetheus, Tethys, Janus and Enceladus.

by

Judy Schmidt

Rhea and Saturn by Gordan Ugarkovic

Rhea and Saturn by Gordan Ugarkovic

Iapetus is the third-largest natural satelli…

Iapetus is the third-largest natural satellite of Saturn, eleventh-largest in the Solar System, and the largest body in the Solar System known not to be in hydrostatic equilibrium. Iapetus is best known for its dramatic “two-tone” coloration. Discoveries by the Cassini mission in 2007 revealed several other unusual features, such as a massive equatorial ridge running three-quarters of the way around the moon.

Iapetus was discovered by Giovanni Domenico Cassini, an Italian astronomer, in October 1671. He had discovered it on the western side of Saturn and tried viewing it on the eastern side some months later, but was unsuccessful. This was also the case the following year, when he was again able to observe it on the western side, but not the eastern side. Cassini finally observed Iapetus on the eastern side in 1705 with the help of an improved telescope, finding it two magnitudes dimmer on that side.

Cassini correctly surmised that Iapetus has a bright hemisphere and a dark hemisphere, and that it is tidally locked, always keeping the same face towards Saturn. This means that the bright hemisphere is visible from Earth when Iapetus is on the western side of Saturn, and that the dark hemisphere is visible when Iapetus is on the eastern side. The dark hemisphere was later named Cassini Regio in his honor.

The original dark material is believed to have come from outside Iapetus, but now it consists principally of lag from the sublimation of ice from the warmer areas of Iapetus’s surface. It contains organic compounds similar to the substances found in primitive meteorites or on the surfaces of comets; Earth-based observations have shown it to be carbonaceous, and it probably includes cyano-compounds such as frozen hydrogen cyanide polymers.

Saturn’s rings display their subtle colors in …

Saturn’s rings display their subtle colors in this view captured on Aug. 22, 2009, by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The particles that make up the rings range in size from smaller than a grain of sand to as large as mountains, and are mostly made of water ice. The exact nature of the material responsible for bestowing color on the rings remains a matter of intense debate among scientists.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute