“There’s no place like home…”

I didn’t ‘Wave at Saturn’ on 19 July when the Cassini probe, orbiting the gas giant, was taking a high-definition image of the view back home.  I don’t think it encouraged a proper sense of perspective…  But the resultant image is stunning. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute] It’s not the first time Cassini has looked home.  Nor is it the only stunning image the probe has provided.  But, as those involved pointed out “We can’t see individual continents or people in this … Read more

“A major difference between the hurricanes is that the one on Saturn is much bigger…”

As I mentioned previously, Saturn doesn’t get the love some of our other gas giants do.  [All hail our friend and lord, Jupiter!  Keeping Ogdy at bay… – Ed]  Indeed… [new link]  But, with the help of Cassini, Saturn does provide some wondrous images.   In some of its first sunlit images of Saturn’s north pole, Cassini has looked inside the mysterious hexagon-shaped jet-stream noted here, and spied an enormous hurricane. In high-resolution pictures and video, scientists see the hurricane’s eye is about 1,250 miles … Read more

“In Saturn’s Shadow” – redux

Saturn doesn’t get the love some of our other gas giants do.  [All hail our friend and lord, Jupiter!  Keeping Ogdy at bay… – Ed]  Indeed.  But, with the help of Cassini, Saturn does provide some wondrous images.  [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute].  From the image’s associated text NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has delivered a glorious view of Saturn, taken while the spacecraft was in Saturn’s shadow. The cameras were turned toward Saturn and the sun so that the planet and rings are backlit. … Read more

Titan’s Nile River Valley

Fascinating image from Nasa’s Cassini probe at Saturn, where we’ve previously watched the weather on Titan.  [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI.]  North is to the right in this view. From the JPLnews press release “Titan is the only place we’ve found besides Earth that has a liquid in continuous movement on its surface,” said Steve Wall, the radar deputy team lead, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “This picture gives us a snapshot of a world in motion. Rain falls, … Read more

Enceladus ‘footprint’ on Saturn

Nasa’s Cassini probe has been exploring Saturn’s system of moons since 2004 – some archived posts here.  Recently it’s watched the weather on Titan and tasted Enceladus’ briny breath.  That briny breath is responsible for the latest observed phenomenon –  Aurora from Saturn moon ‘circuit’.  Image credits: NASA/JPL/University of Colorado/Central Arizona College.  Image details here. From the Cassini mission press release “The footprint discovery at Saturn is one of the most important fields and particle revelations from Cassini and ultimately may help us … Read more

“you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s…”

With Cassini exploring Saturn’s moons, and Messenger finally at Mercury, the BBC’s Spaceman, Jonathan Amos, takes an interesting look at the future prospects for interstellar travel.  And he starts with this observation of Voyager’s 33-year-long journey. I’ve been troubled of late by the scale of things, by the vastness of space. It’s been brought into focus by two things, I think. The first is the Voyager 1 probe – the most distant man-made object from Earth. I’ve written a couple of … Read more

Weather watching… on Titan.

Nasa’s Messenger spacecraft may have finally arrived in orbit around Mercury, but the Cassini probe has been exploring Saturn’s system of moons since 2004 – some archived posts here.  [Image Credit: NASA/JPL/SSI] The latest images show seasonal weather patterns, and apparently associated surface changes.  From the Nasa/JPL press release Extensive rain from large cloud systems, spotted by Cassini’s cameras in late 2010, has apparently darkened the surface of the moon. The best explanation is these areas remained wet after methane rainstorms. … Read more

See beautiful Ontario Lacus!

Using radar data from the Cassini spacecraft’s flybys on June 22, 2009, July 8, 2009, and Jan. 12, 2010, Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have produced this animated flyover of a potential future holiday destination – the lakes of Titan.  Just don’t forget to pack the thermal underwear…  Video credit: JPL News From the JPL press release Ontario Lacus, the largest lake in the southern hemisphere of Saturn’s moon Titan, turns out to be a perfect exotic vacation spot, provided you can handle the frosty, subzero … Read more