Archive for the ‘Saturn’ Category

Saturn Moon Loses Its Ring, Gains a Mystery

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Until this week Saturn’s small moon Rhea was the only known solid space object thought to have a ring. (Other known ringed bodies, such as Saturn, are mainly gaseous.)
But a new study of optical images has failed to detect any signs of structures encircling the natural satellite.

Saturn’s Aurora Heartbeat Discovered

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Saturn’s aurora, a ghostly ultraviolet glow that illuminates the gas giant’s upper atmosphere near the poles, has a heartbeat that pulses in tandem with the planet’s radio emissions, scientists have discovered.

One Saturn Moon Blows Oxygen to Another

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

A comprehensive model of Saturn’s magnetosphere and moons has revealed that the ringed planet’s largest moon Titan gets its oxygen from the icy geysers on another

Zapping Titan-like atmosphere with UV rays creates life precursors

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The first experimental evidence showing how atmospheric nitrogen can be incorporated into organic macromolecules is being reported by a University of Arizona team.

Missing chemicals on Titan could signal life

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Two new studies about the chemical makeup of Titan, Saturn’s hydrocarbon-shrouded moon, raise the possibility that methane-based bacteria might exist on its surface, munching on acetylene and hydrogen.

Mystery of Saturn’s midget moons cracked

Friday, June 11th, 2010

For decades, researchers have puzzled over the origin of Saturn’s baby moons. According to conventional models, these moons are so small that collisions with comets should have blown them to pieces long ago.

Largest Lake on Saturn’s Moon Titan Gets Close-Up

Friday, June 11th, 2010

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft snapped new photos of Saturn’s biggest moon Titan during a recent flyby over the moon’s northern pole that targeted the home of the cloudy moon’s largest methane lake.

Hints of life found on Saturn moon

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Two potential signatures of life on Saturn’s moon Titan have been found by the Cassini spacecraft. But scientists are quick to point out that non-biological chemical reactions could also be behind the observations.

What is Consuming Hydrogen and Acetylene on Titan?

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Two new papers based on data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft scrutinize the complex chemical activity on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. While non-biological chemistry offers one possible explanation, some scientists believe these chemical signatures bolster the argument for a primitive, exotic form of life or precursor to life on Titan’s surface.

Cassini Double Play: Enceladus and Titan

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

About a month and a half after its last double flyby, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will be turning another double play this week, visiting the geyser moon Enceladus and the hazy moon Titan.

Sparks on Saturn

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

One of the “flashier” results from planetary exploration is that titanic bolts of lightning routinely zap the atmosphere of Jupiter. It stands to reason that bright discharges should occur on Saturn as well.

Mysterious Pacman on Saturn’s moon

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

First there was the man in the Moon and the face on Mars, now astronomers have observed a temperature anomaly on Saturn’s moon Mimas that looks like the 1980s computer game icon, Pacman.

1980s Video Icon Glows on Saturn Moon

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The highest-resolution-yet temperature map and images of Saturn’s icy moon Mimas obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft reveal surprising patterns on the surface of the small moon, including unexpected hot regions that resemble “Pac-Man” eating a dot, and striking bands of light and dark in crater walls.

Saturn at its Best for 2010

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

While the planet Venus is now gaining in prominence low in western evening sky and Mars continues to slowly fade as it recedes from Earth, another bright naked eye planet, Saturn, is now enjoying its finest month in 2010.

Cassini Shows Saturnian Roller Derby, Strange Weather

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

From our vantage point on Earth, Saturn may look like a peaceful orb with rings worthy of a carefully raked Zen garden, but NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been shadowing the gas giant long enough to see that the rings are a rough and tumble roller derby. It has also revealed that the planet itself.

Cassini Sees Saturn’s Rough and Tumble Rings

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

The rings of Saturn are the most intricate planetary decorations in our solar system, but are also cosmic gems festooned with unknown red material and some tricky dynamic forces that shape them.


Thursday, February 18th, 2010

NASA’s Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft this month made its closest pass yet of the odd, eyeball-shaped moon Mimas, which bears the scar of a massive, violent impact from its past.

Cassini detection adds to Enceladus liquid water story

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

There seems little doubt that Saturn’s moon Enceladus hides a large body of liquid water beneath its icy skin.
The Cassini probe, which periodically sweeps past the little moon, has returned yet more data to back up the idea of a sub-surface sea.

Route 66: Cassini’s Next Look at Titan

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Sixteen days after last visiting Saturn’s largest moon, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft returns for another look-see of the cloud-shrouded moon – this time from on high. The flyby on Thursday, Jan. 28, referred to as “T-66” in the hollowed halls of Cassini operations, will place the spacecraft within 7,490 kilometers (4,654 miles) above the surface during time of closest approach.

As The Crust Turns: Cassini Data Show Enceladus in Motion

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Blobs of warm ice that periodically rise to the surface and churn the icy crust on Saturn’s moon Enceladus explain the quirky heat behavior and intriguing surface of the moon’s south polar region, according to a new paper using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.