NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Obtains Best Views of Saturn Hexagon
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has obtained the highest-resolution movie yet of a unique six-sided jet stream, known as the hexagon, around Saturn’s north pole.
This is the first hexagon movie of its kind, using color filters, and the first to show a complete view of the top of Saturn down to about 70 degrees latitude. Spanning about 20,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) across, the hexagon is a wavy jet stream of 200-mile-per-hour winds (about 322 kilometers per hour) with a massive, rotating storm at the center. There is no weather feature exactly, consistently like this anywhere else in the solar system.
Titan, Dione, Pandora, Pan and parts of Saturn’s rings
The transit light curve gives an astronomer a wealth of information about the transiting planet as well as the star. It is only for transiting exoplanets that astronomers have been able to get direct estimates of the exoplanet mass and radius. With these parameters at hand astronomers are able to set the most fundamental constraints on models which reveal the physical nature of the exoplanet, such as its average density and surface gravity. As mentioned above the transit events do not just give information about the exoplanet, but quite often also information about the star. With telescopes capable of high precision photometry, transit curve anomalies can say something about the activity of the star. An example of this is when an exoplanet crosses star spots (Fig. 2) [source]. This can be seen in the light curve as a small increase in flux due to the light of a cooler part of the star being blocked out.
With a very high precision light curve with a high Signal to Noise (S/N), the light curve can also be used to infer the presence of other planets in the system. Perturbations in the timing of exoplanet transits may be used to infer the presence of satellites or additional planetary companions [source,source].
Credit: Paul Anthony Wilson
Saturn’s hexagon is a persisting six sided cloud pattern around the north pole of the planet created by a band of upper-atmospheric winds. The sides of it are about 13,800 km (8,600 mi) long, which is longer than the Earth’s diameter. There’s a hurricane swirling within the hexagon.
(Images by the Cassini spacecraft)
This is so cool.
Streams of charged particles blasted from the sun collide with Saturn’s magnetic field, creating an aurora on the planet’s south pole. Unlike Earth’s relatively short-lived auroras, Saturn’s can last for days. Scientists combined ultraviolet images of the auroras, taken by Hubble over a period of days, with visible-light images of the ringed planet. The aurora appears blue because of the ultraviolet camera, but a Saturn-based observer would see red light flashes.
Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Clarke (Boston University), and Z. Levay (STScI) + thebigcheese
"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
I made these to fit the Facebook cover photo size - feel free to use them with the post’s link. Photo courtesy: ESA/NASA.
There is much speculation regarding how the Higgs Boson and Higgs field came into being, and many scientists wish to claim the discovery as their own. In truth, there were scientists that were working on a mass-generating mechanism before Peter Higgs (who gave his name to the Higgs boson and Higgs field). The team most closely working on this topic included Robert Brout and François Engler. In August of 1964, they independently detailed how a mass-generating mechanism could work. Another group – Dick Hagen, Gerald Guralnik and Tom Kibble – also produced similar ideas, also done independently, but published it shortly after Peter Higgs in November of the same year. This, of course, was a bit of a problem for the Nobel prize committee committee, as the rules state that the prize can only be shared with a maximum of three people. Nonetheless, it was Peter Higgs at the University of Edinburgh, UK, who first explicitly predicted the particle we now call the Higgs Boson – in a paper published in October 1964. Consequently, the committee gave the Nobel Peace Prize in Physics to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs.
So what exactly is the Higgs Field an Higgs Boson? Find out at,
Quarks don’t interact with leptons?
The much anticipated comet Ison appears to have largely been destroyed from its pass around the sun, something may have survived however the show everyone has been looking forward to has been cancelled.
YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.
Jupiter and Galilean moons. Captured with a 70mm scope and an iPhone.