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  Cassini-Huygens at Saturn: Questions, comments (Page 5)

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Author Topic:   Cassini-Huygens at Saturn: Questions, comments
spaceuk
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posted 05-05-2006 03:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I liked the thin-image of size comparison of an Apollo astronaut imprint to the size of the rocks on Titan as viewed by Huygens - helps give a good idea of scale not otherwise readily noticeable.

Also, watching the parachute animation - especially at beginning of sequence where the reefing lines are really 'blown' about by the upper atmosphere winds (?) on Titan.

The parachutes moves about quite a bit lower down during sequence.

Full marks to this team for providing movie but - like other comments - would like see larger viewing version.

Scott
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posted 05-05-2006 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I haven't been able to find a higher resolution of the above movie yet, but coming in a close second on the "cool-o-meter" is this music video (The View from Huygens, 70 mb) which plays the same imagery but with a different perspective and a much larger size.
"Cool-O-Meter" is right. That movie is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Thanks for the link!

spaceuk
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posted 05-06-2006 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cassini imaged what appear to be and are being called by the Cassini science teams 'sand dunes' in an area they call the Belet sands on Titan.

They say they look like the sand dunes of Namibia here on Earth.

mmmoo
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posted 10-11-2006 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mmmoo   Click Here to Email mmmoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

With giant Saturn hanging in the blackness and sheltering Cassini from the sun's blinding glare, the spacecraft viewed the rings as never before, revealing previously unknown faint rings and even glimpsing its home world. More info here.

dss65
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posted 10-11-2006 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Magnificent. Who needs fantasy when reality offers this?

cspg
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posted 10-12-2006 02:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dss65:
Magnificent. Who needs fantasy when reality offers this?
I guess no one - except that reality, unfortunately rarely offers this. Fantasy fills the holes. But what an amazing picture!

Scott
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posted 10-12-2006 07:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Truly amazing. Thanks for the link, Mike.

CJC
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posted 10-15-2006 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CJC   Click Here to Email CJC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, What a picture! Truly beautiful. I can't believe it's nine years since Cassini left Earth. Man I'm getting old!

ejectr
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posted 10-15-2006 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fascinating!

cspg
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posted 10-16-2006 04:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And you can see the Earth in the picture! Needless to say we're really nothing compared to the scale of the universe. See today's (Oct.16) photo at Astronomy Picture of the Day.

ejectr
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posted 10-16-2006 05:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's a shame Earth isn't as peaceful as it looks from Saturn.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-08-2006 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SPACE.com: Death of a Spacecraft: The Unknown Fate of Cassini
The Cassini spacecraft is roughly halfway through its looping voyage of the Saturn system and is continuing to return a bounty of data on the ringed planet and its moons. Yet all journeys must have an end and Cassini's eventual fate is now being discussed.

"Current planning is for a two year mission extension that ends on July 1, 2010," said Robert Mitchell, NASA's Cassini mission program manager. "However, presuming that the spacecraft continues to function well, it's reasonable to expect that one or more further extensions will be supported."

Sometime around 2012, Cassini, like the ocean-going ships of old, will need to be decommissioned. However, the spacecraft cannot be towed to some nearby shore to be dismantled; she must either drop anchor, be scuttled, or cast off her gravitational moorings altogether.

Lunar rock nut
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posted 03-29-2007 05:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Almost a natural layout for a mission patch, Voyager 1 and 2 spotted this long ago.

Blackarrow
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posted 09-11-2007 05:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The latest raw images from Cassini, in orbit around Saturn, are providing a spectacular close-up view of one of the weirdest places in the Solar System. Like most (not all!) of Saturn's moons, Iapetus has vast numbers of craters, but what sets it apart from the other worlds circling Saturn is the remarkable equatorial ridge. It's like the raised rim of the two halves of an Easter egg, running around a large proportion of the moon's equator. Check out the raw images on the Cassini site. "It's a moon, Jim, but not as we know them..."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-12-2007 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the Associated Press:
Cosmic-ray hit puts Cassini probe in safe mode
The international Cassini spacecraft went into safe mode this week after successfully passing over a Saturn moon that was the mysterious destination of a deep-space faring astronaut in Arthur C. Clarke's novel "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Cassini flew within 1,000 miles (1609 kilometers) of Iapetus on Monday and took images of its rugged, two-toned surface. As it was sending data back to Earth, it was hit by a cosmic ray that caused a power trip. The spacecraft was not damaged, but had to turn off its instruments and relay only limited information.

Mission controllers have since sent commands for Cassini to resume normal transmission, and scientists recovered all the data from the moon flyby despite a nearly 12-hour delay. The spacecraft was expected to be fully functional by week's end.

Blackarrow
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posted 09-13-2007 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I didn't know about Cassini's problem - I'm relieved to hear it has been resolved. The latest images are stunning. After the previous close encounter it seemed clear that Iapetus is basically bright, with a large superimposed dark patch. The new pictures show a dark underlying surface coated with what appears to be a layer of snow, with the light material spilling over the edges of dark cliffs and crater edges. Now I'm totally confused about the real underlying colour of Iapetus.

Lunar rock nut
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posted 09-14-2007 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The cosmic ray must have emminated from the mysterious Monolith!

Scott
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posted 09-14-2007 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stunning flyby image of equatorial ridge.

Lunar rock nut
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posted 09-15-2007 09:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Astronomy Picture of the Day for Sept. 15 offers a 3-D view of the ridge.

Blackarrow
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posted 09-16-2007 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Absolutely stunning! This is the best space exploration anyone is doing, anywhere, at the moment.

cspg
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posted 09-19-2007 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Absolutely! Look at today's astronomy picture of the day (Sept. 19).

Amazing! (I hate 3-D pics!)

cspg
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posted 10-24-2007 12:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For a closer look at the rings, see today's (Oct.24) Astronomy Picture of the Day. Amazing and beautiful.

Philip
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posted 01-17-2008 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The American Humanist Association announced today that planetary scientist Carolyn C. Porco, leader of the imaging science team for the Cassini space mission to Saturn and director of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS), will be honored with the Isaac Asimov Science Award in Washington, D.C., in June 2008.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-01-2008 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JPL/NASA release
Journey to Saturn From Your Computer

Want a peek at Saturn as seen from space? A new interactive 3-D viewer that uses a game engine and allows users to travel to Saturn and see it the way the Cassini spacecraft sees it is now online.

The Cassini at Saturn Interactive Explorer makes the real Cassini mission data fully available in three colorful, easy-to-use expeditions.

The "Where is Cassini Now?" expedition shows exactly where the Cassini spacecraft is and what it is doing each moment over the current 24-hour period. Viewers can see the spacecraft move in its orbit and maneuver according to instructions from mission scientists and navigators at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

With the "Mission Overview" expedition, look back in time as Cassini orbited the Saturn system over the past 3.5 years, and fast-forward into the future to see where it is headed. Users can control two virtual cameras to see Cassini fly by Saturn and its moons.

The "Saturn's Moons" expedition gives an in-depth peek at seven of Saturn's moons, providing useful facts and interactive surface views of each one.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 02-01-2008 12:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A lot of work has gone into this but sadly it is lacking critical data like distances, speeds...unless I've missed them, which give you some context as well as pretty pictures.

cspg
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posted 03-14-2008 02:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reuters: Software "hiccup" undermines trip past Saturn moon
A software malfunction prevented a key piece of equipment on the Cassini spacecraft from recording data as it flew through the plume from a geyser shooting off a moon of Saturn, NASA said late on Thursday.

NASA called the problem "an unexplained software hiccup" that came at a very bad time, preventing Cassini's Cosmic Dust Analyzer instrument from collecting data for about two hours as it flew over the surface of the moon Enceladus on Wednesday.

A key objective of the fly-by was to determine the density, size, composition and speed of particles erupting into space from the moon's south pole in a dramatic plume.

Bob Mitchell, Cassini program manager, said the problem meant that the instrument did not collect data as the craft flew through the plume -- a process lasting under a minute.

Blackarrow
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posted 03-15-2008 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did this software malfunction affect image gathering? I have been looking at the "raw" images on the official Cassini website, but there are no images from closer than about 10,000 miles (and that seems dim and blurred). All the clear pictures are from about 20,000 miles, although Cassini went as close as 30 miles. Does anyone know if closer (and clear) images were taken?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-20-2008 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
Did this software malfunction affect image gathering?
The imager was purposely disabled during the flyby. The results of the data that was collected will be discussed at the press conference described in the following NASA release:
NASA to Release New Details From Close Flyby of Saturn Moon

NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, March 26, to present new clues on the composition of the icy plumes jetting off the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The findings were obtained March 12 during the closest flyby of the moon by the Cassini spacecraft.

Participants in the press conference will be:

  • Hunter Waite, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, principal investigator, Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer
  • John Spencer, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo., co-investigator, Composite Infrared Spectrometer
  • Larry Esposito, University of Colorado, Boulder, principal investigator, Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph
  • Carolyn Porco, Space Science Institute, Boulder, team leader, Imaging Science Subsystem

Philip
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posted 06-19-2008 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well check these photo highlights: Cassini Nears Four-year Mark

gliderpilotuk
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posted 06-19-2008 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm lost for words. These images are incredible.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-11-2008 09:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cassini made its closest approach to Saturn's moon Enceladus Monday, zooming past the tiny moon a mere 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the surface.

Just afterwards, all of the spacecraft's cameras -- covering infrared wavelengths, where temperatures are mapped, as well as visible light and ultraviolet -- were focused on the fissures running along the moon's south pole. That is where the jets of icy water vapor emanate and erupt hundreds of miles into space.

Seeing inside one of the fissures in high resolution may provide more information on the terrain and depth of the fissures, as well as the size and composition of the ice grains inside. Refined temperature data could help scientists determine if water, in vapor or liquid form, lies close to the surface and better refine their theories on what powers the jets.

The first data downlink was scheduled to begin 11:00 p.m. CDT but the best images won't return to Earth until later on Tuesday.

For the latest updates, keep an eye on the Cassini blog.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-12-2008 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can find the first raw images from Cassini's approach to Enceladus here.

SpaceAholic
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posted 10-07-2008 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cassini makes an even closer flyby of Enceladus in a couple of days (within 16 miles of the surface!).
Cassini flyby of Saturn moon offers insight into solar system history (University of Michigan)

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is scheduled to fly within 16 miles of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Oct. 9 and measure molecules in its space environment that could give insight into the history of the solar system.

"This encounter will potentially have far-reaching implications for understanding how the solar system was formed and how it evolved," said professor Tamas Gombosi, chair of the University of Michigan Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences.

Gombosi is the interdisciplinary scientist for magnetosphere and plasma science on the Cassini mission. His role is to coordinate studies that involve multiple plasma instruments on the spacecraft.

Enceladus is Saturn's sixth-largest moon, orbiting within the planet's outermost ring. It is approximately 313 miles in diameter.

In this flyby, Cassini will be close enough to Enceladus to identify individual molecules in the moon's space environment, including ions and isotopes. An ion is a charged particle, or a version of an element that has lost or gained negatively charged electrons. An isotope is a version of an element that has in its nucleus the typical protons for that element, but a different number of neutrons, thus exhibiting a different atomic weight.

The atoms around Enceladus are expected to hold clues to the past because they come from interior regions that have changed little since the moon was formed. Geysers near the moon's south pole spew water and other molecules from the satellite's interior. Because of Enceladus' weak gravity and low atmospheric pressure, the water and gas molecules waft off to space.

The encounter will contribute to scientists' understanding of how particles become charged and energized in Saturn's magnetosphere. Also, when Cassini identifies the different isotopes in the space around the moon, it will help scientists discern the temperatures at various stages in Enceladus' formation eons ago.

Cassini discovered the geysers on Enceladus in 2005. Scientists believe that there could be a liquid ocean beneath the moon's surface. They also detected organic molecules at the moon in March. Organic molecules have carbon-hydrogen bonds, and are found in living organisms, and in comets.

"The mission as a whole is expected to bring central pieces of the solar system evolution puzzle into place," Gombosi said. "This encounter is expected to provide some of those puzzle pieces."

This will be Cassini's fifth encounter with Enceladus. A sixth encounter, during which it will approach within 122 miles of the moon, is scheduled for Oct. 31. Four more flybys are planned in the next two years of Cassini's extended mission, the Cassini Equinox Mission.

The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched in 1997 and reached Saturn to study the planet and its moons in 2004. It is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL.

Gombosi is also the Rollin M. Gerstacker Professor of Engineering, and a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

DChudwin
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posted 12-27-2008 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Saturn's Dynamic Moon Enceladus Shows More Signs of Activity (12.15.08)
The closer scientists look at Saturn's small moon Enceladus, the more they find evidence of an active world. The most recent flybys of Enceladus made by NASA's Cassini spacecraft have provided new signs of ongoing changes on and around the moon. The latest high-resolution images of Enceladus show signs that the south polar surface changes over time.

Close views of the southern polar region, where jets of water vapor and icy particles spew from vents within the moon's distinctive "tiger stripe" fractures, provide surprising evidence of Earth-like tectonics. They yield new insight into what may be happening within the fractures. The latest data on the plume -- the huge cloud of vapor and particles fed by the jets that extend into space -- show it varies over time and has a far-reaching effect on Saturn's magnetosphere.

"Of all the geologic provinces in the Saturn system that Cassini has explored, none has been more thrilling or carries greater implications than the region at the southernmost portion of Enceladus," said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-04-2009 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Newfound Moon May Be Source of Outer Saturn Ring

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found within Saturn's G ring an embedded moonlet that appears as a faint, moving pinprick of light. Scientists believe it is a main source of the G ring and its single ring arc.

Cassini imaging scientists analyzing images acquired over the course of about 600 days found the tiny moonlet, half a kilometer (about a third of a mile) across, embedded within a partial ring, or ring arc, previously found by Cassini in Saturn's tenuous G ring.

The finding is being announced today in an International Astronomical Union circular.

"Before Cassini, the G ring was the only dusty ring that was not clearly associated with a known moon, which made it odd," said Matthew Hedman, a Cassini imaging team associate at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. "The discovery of this moonlet, together with other Cassini data, should help us make sense of this previously mysterious ring."

Saturn's rings were named in the order they were discovered. Working outward they are: D, C, B, A, F, G and E. The G ring is one of the outer diffuse rings. Within the faint G ring there is a relatively bright and narrow, 250-kilometer-wide (150-miles) arc of ring material, which extends 150,000 kilometers (90,000 miles), or one-sixth of the way around the ring's circumference. The moonlet moves within this ring arc. Previous Cassini plasma and dust measurements indicated that this partial ring may be produced from relatively large, icy particles embedded within the arc, such as this moonlet.

Scientists imaged the moonlet on Aug. 15, 2008, and then they confirmed its presence by finding it in two earlier images. They have since seen the moonlet on multiple occasions, most recently on Feb. 20, 2009. The moonlet is too small to be resolved by Cassini's cameras, so its size cannot be measured directly. However, Cassini scientists estimated the moonlet's size by comparing its brightness to another small Saturnian moon, Pallene.

Hedman and his collaborators also have found that the moonlet's orbit is being disturbed by the larger, nearby moon Mimas, which is responsible for keeping the ring arc together.

This brings the number of Saturnian ring arcs with embedded moonlets found by Cassini to three. The new moonlet may not be alone in the G ring arc. Previous measurements with other Cassini instruments implied the existence of a population of particles, possibly ranging in size from 1 to 100 meters (about three to several hundred feet) across. "Meteoroid impacts into, and collisions among, these bodies and the moonlet could liberate dust to form the arc," said Hedman.

Carl Murray, a Cassini imaging team member and professor at Queen Mary, University of London, said, "The moon's discovery and the disturbance of its trajectory by the neighboring moon Mimas highlight the close association between moons and rings that we see throughout the Saturn system. Hopefully, we will learn in the future more about how such arcs form and interact with their parent bodies."

Early next year, Cassini's camera will take a closer look at the arc and the moonlet. The Cassini Equinox mission, an extension of the original four-year mission, is expected to continue until fall of 2010.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

This sequence of three images, obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft over the course of about 10 minutes, shows the path of a newly found moonlet in a bright arc of Saturn's faint G ring. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

DChudwin
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posted 04-14-2009 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not only do Saturn's moons cast shadows on the rings, but also some of ring material, such as boulders and moonlets,reveals itself by also casting shadows. Some spectacular photos can be found here.

DChudwin
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posted 04-14-2009 09:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the CICLOPS website comes a collection of the best Cassini pictures and movies from Saturn from over the last four years. This is a truly awe-inspiring group of images from the Saturnian system:
In Celebration of Galileo

On April 4, 2009, telescopes around the world will be trained on Saturn during the 100 Hours of Astronomy, a global sky-observing fest in honor of the astronomer Galileo Galilei. To join the celebration, the Cassini Imaging Team has collected here some of its most memorable images and movies of Saturn and its rings and moons... a collection Galileo would be proud of. It's all part of the International Year of Astronomy which marks 2009 as the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first astronomical use of the telescope.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 04-15-2009 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wonderful. Thanks for posting. I never tire of seeing these images.

DChudwin
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posted 06-13-2009 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Vertical structures as high as 1.5 km have been found in Saturn's "flat" rings as Cassini observes the rings near the equinox.

The pictures can be found here and a movie here.

DChudwin
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posted 06-22-2009 11:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More spectacular images from Cassini in this movie showing the shadow of the moon Tethys crossing the rings, a view only available during Saturn's equinox.


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