jul 192012
 
Daytime Lightning on Saturn Spotted

  Saturn was playing the lightning storm blues. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured images of last year’s storm on Saturn, the largest storm seen up-close at the planet, with bluish spots in the middle of swirling clouds. Those bluish spots indicate flashes of lightning and mark the first time scientists have detected lightning in visible [continue reading]

jun 262012
 
Why Jet Streams Cross-Cut Saturn

  Turbulent jet streams, regions where winds blow faster than in other places, churn east and west across Saturn. Scientists have been trying to understand for years the mechanism that drives these wavy structures in Saturn’s atmosphere and the source from which the jets derive their energy. A particularly strong jet stream churns through Saturn’s [continue reading]

jun 012012
 
"Dusty Plasma"  Observed in Enceladus Plume Region?

  Recent findings from NASA’s Cassini mission reveal that Saturn’s geyser moon Enceladus provides a special laboratory for watching unusual behavior of plasma, or hot ionized gas. In these recent findings, some Cassini scientists think they have observed “dusty plasma,” a condition theorized but not previously observed on site, near Enceladus. This image is a [continue reading]

apr 192012
 
Cassini Finds Titan Lake is like a Namibia Mudflat

A new study analyzing data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggests that the lake, known as Ontario Lacus, behaves most similarly to what we call a salt pan on Earth. 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 [continue reading]

mrt 292012
 
Is it snowing microbes on Enceladus?

There’s a tiny moon orbiting beyond Saturn’s rings that’s full of promise, and maybe — just maybe — microbes. In a series of tantalizingly close flybys to the moon, named “Enceladus”,  NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has revealed watery jets erupting from what may be a vast underground sea. These jets, which spew through cracks in the [continue reading]