7
Jul 11

Cassini spacecraft captures images andsounds of big Saturn storm

Source: NASA/Cassini


Huge storm churning through the atmosphere in Saturn's northern hemisphere.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Scientists analyzing data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft now have the first-ever, up-close details of a Saturn storm that is eight times the surface area of Earth.

On Dec. 5, 2010, Cassini first detected the storm that has been raging ever since. It appears at approximately 35 degrees north latitude on Saturn. Pictures from Cassini's imaging cameras show the storm wrapping around the entire planet covering approximately 1.5 billion square miles (4 billion square kilometers).

The storm is about 500 times larger than the biggest storm previously seen by Cassini during several months from 2009 to 2010. Scientists studied the sounds of the new storm's lightning strikes and analyzed images taken between December 2010 and February 2011. Data from Cassini's radio and plasma wave science instrument showed the lightning flash rate as much as 10 times more frequent than during other storms monitored since Cassini's arrival to Saturn in 2004. The data appear in a paper published this week in the journal Nature.(read more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon
7
Jul 11

Does Asteroid Vesta Have a Moon?

Source: NASA


Ida and Dactyl: Asteroid and Moon
Credit: Galileo Project, JPL, NASA

As NASA's ion-powered Dawn spacecraft approaches Vesta for orbital insertion in mid-July, Dawn's camera's will be scanning space around the giant asteroid for signs of an asteroid moon.(read more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon