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Post Cassini Mission News and Updates
by Orbinaut Pete 07-20-2010, 08:50 PM

NASA: "Cassini Sees Moon Building Giant Snowballs in Saturn Ring".

Astronomy Now: "Saturn’s F-ring gets a fan".

Last edited by Orbinaut Pete; 07-22-2010 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:30 PM   #2
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i will be impressed when the moon makes the giant snowballs into a giant snowman
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:03 PM   #3
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The Planetary Society Blog: "Goodies from the latest Cassini data release".
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:19 PM   #4
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The Planetary Society Blog: "Cassini catches four little moons in motion".

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Old 08-10-2010, 10:57 PM   #5
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Spaceflight Now: "Cassini's latest dispatches reach across a billion miles from Saturn to Earth".
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:36 PM   #6
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JPL: "Raisin' Mountains on Saturn's Moon Titan".

JPL: "Cassini Hunting Enceladus 'Tigers' with Night Vision".

JPL: "Cassini Bags Enceladus 'Tigers'".

[Images] Enceladus, Tethys and Dione Rev 136 Raw Preview.

---------- Post added 16th Aug 2010 at 07:39 PM ---------- Previous post was 15th Aug 2010 at 10:25 PM ----------

Discovery News: "Cassini's Summer at Saturn".

The Planetary Society Blog: "Decoding a Titan crater".

---------- Post added 17th Aug 2010 at 04:36 PM ---------- Previous post was 16th Aug 2010 at 07:39 PM ----------

Spaceflight Now: "Cassini sees three moons in one flyby".

JPL: "Move Over Caravaggio: Cassini's Light and Dark Moons".

Last edited by Orbinaut Pete; 08-16-2010 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 09-05-2010, 02:24 PM   #7
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[Images] Dione Rev 137 Raw Preview.
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These raw, unprocessed images of Saturn's moon Dione were taken on Sept. 4, 2010. These images include the best views of Dione's north pole region Cassini has yet captured.
SPACE.com: "New Images of Saturn's Moon Dione Released".

Last edited by Orbinaut Pete; 09-05-2010 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 09-05-2010, 02:42 PM   #8
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What a desolated place... The Moon looks fancy in comparison. Incredibly hi-res pics by the way
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:12 PM   #9
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The Planetary Society Blog: "Browse the Cassini RPWS data set".
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:37 AM   #10
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Astronomy Now: Seasons of change on Titan:
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Using some 2,000 Cassini images, planetary scientists are putting together a picture of Titan's seasons, which last seven Earth years.

Thanks to monitoring by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS), a team of planetary scientists led by Sebastien Rodriguez of the AIM laboratory at the Universite Paris Diderot have extracted around 2,000 images from a total of 20,000 collected since the mission began, to study long-term patterns in Titan's atmosphere.

...

Now that Cassini's mission lifetime has been extended through to May 2017, scientists will be able to observe Titan from mid-winter to mid-summer in the northern hemisphere. Long-term monitoring of clouds and atmospheric phenomena is crucial for building an accurate picture of the moon's global climate.
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:34 PM   #11
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Spring on Titan brings sunshine and patchy clouds.


False-color image of cloud cover dissolving over Titan's north pole and clouds appearing in the southern mid latitudes.
› Full image and caption.


The northern hemisphere of Saturn's moon Titan is set for mainly fine spring weather, with polar skies clearing since the equinox in August last year. The visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been monitoring clouds on Titan regularly since the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn in 2004. Now, a group led by Sébastien Rodriguez, a Cassini VIMS team collaborator based at Université Paris Diderot, France, has analyzed more than 2,000 VIMS images to create the first long-term study of Titan's weather using observational data that also includes the equinox. Equinox, when the sun shone directly over the equator, occurred in August 2009.

Rodriguez is presenting the results and new images at the European Planetary Science Congress in Rome on Sept. 22.

Though Titan's surface is far colder and lacks liquid water, this moon is a kind of "sister world" to Earth because it has a surface covered with organic material and an atmosphere whose chemical composition harkens back to an early Earth. Titan has a hydrological cycle similar to Earth's, though Titan's cycle depends on methane and ethane rather than water.

A season on Titan lasts about seven Earth years. Rodriguez and colleagues observed significant atmospheric changes between July 2004 (early summer in Titan's southern hemisphere) and April 2010 (the very start of northern spring). The images showed that cloud activity has recently decreased near both of Titan's poles. These regions had been heavily overcast during the late southern summer until 2008, a few months before the equinox.

Over the past six years, the scientists found that clouds clustered in three distinct latitude regions of Titan: large clouds at the north pole, patchy clouds at the south pole and a narrow belt around 40 degrees south. "However, we are now seeing evidence of a seasonal circulation turnover on Titan – the clouds at the south pole completely disappeared just before the equinox and the clouds in the north are thinning out," Rodriguez said. "This agrees with predictions from models and we are expecting to see cloud activity reverse from one hemisphere to another in the coming decade as southern winter approaches."

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team is based at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

For a full version of this release, go to: http://www.europlanet-eu.org/outreac...=288&Itemid=41

For more information about Cassini, go to: www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:58 PM   #12
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Astronomy Now: Cassini scoops Saturn's aurora:
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A stunning animation of Saturn's aurora created from 1,000 images, and the first observations from within the planet's radio aurora, were presented today at the European Planetary Science Congress.

...

The observations show that the process that generates radio aurora on Saturn is the same as it is for Earth, but there are also some differences. On Earth there is a cavity in the plasma above the auroral oval that rises for several thousand kilometres, which is not seen at the gas giant, and the radio sources were crossed at much further distances from Saturn than at Earth, reflecting intrinsic differences between the two planetary magnetospheres.

NASA JPL: New Views of Saturn's Aurora, Captured by Cassini:
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September 23, 2010

PASADENA, Calif. -- A new movie and images showing Saturn's shimmering aurora over a two-day period are helping scientists understand what drives some of the solar system's most impressive light shows.

The new, false-color images and video are available online at: http://www.nasa.gov/cassini/ and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/.

The movie and images are part of a new study that, for the first time, extracts auroral information from the entire catalogue of Saturn images taken by the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer instrument (VIMS) aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft. These images and preliminary results are being presented by Tom Stallard, lead scientist on a joint VIMS and Cassini magnetometer collaboration, at the European Planetary Science Congress in Rome on Friday, Sept. 24.

In the movie, the aurora phenomenon clearly varies significantly over the course of a Saturnian day, which lasts around 10 hours 47 minutes. On the noon and midnight sides (left and right sides of the images, respectively), the aurora can be seen to brighten significantly for periods of several hours, suggesting the brightening is connected with the angle of the sun. Other features can be seen to rotate with the planet, reappearing at the same time and the same place on the second day, suggesting that these are directly controlled by the orientation of Saturn's magnetic field.
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:37 AM   #13
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JPL: "Cassini Gazes at Veiled Titan".


Artist's concept of Cassini's Sept. 24, 2010, flyby of Saturn's moon Titan. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Larger view.


NASA's Cassini spacecraft will swing high over Saturn's moon Titan on Friday, Sept. 24, taking a long, sustained look at the hazy moon. At closest approach, Cassini will fly within 8,175 kilometers (5,080 miles) above the hazy moon's surface. This flyby is the first in a series of high-altitude Titan flybys for Cassini over the next year and a half.

Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer instrument will be probing Titan's stratosphere to learn more about its vertical structure as the seasons change. Equinox, when the sun shone directly over the equator, occurred in August 2009, and the northern hemisphere is now in spring.

Another instrument, the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, will be mapping an equatorial region known as Belet at a resolution of 5 kilometers (3 miles) per pixel. This mosaic will complement the mosaics that were obtained in earlier Titan flybys in January and April. This spectrometer will also look for clouds at northern mid-latitudes and near the poles.

Cassin's visible-light imaging cameras will also be taking images of Titan's trailing hemisphere, or the side that faces backward as Titan orbits around Saturn. If Titan cooperates and has a cloudy day, scientists plan to analyze the images for cloud patterns.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

More information about the Cassini-Huygens mission is at www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.

---------- Post added 25th Sep 2010 at 12:22 AM ---------- Previous post was 24th Sep 2010 at 05:28 PM ----------

Cassini's First Dive Inside Saturn's Aurora.

The Cassini spacecraft has made the first observations from within the radio aurora of another planet than Earth. The measurements, which were taken when the spacecraft flew through an active auroral region in 2008, show some similarities and some contrasts between the radio auroral emissions generated at Saturn and those at Earth. Results were presented this week by Dr Laurent Lamy at the European Planetary Science Congress in Rome, and recently published in Geophysical Research Letters.

“So far, this is a unique event,” said Lamy (Observatoire de Paris, France). “Whereas the source region of Earth’s radio aurora has been studied by many missions, this is our first opportunity to observe the equivalent region at Saturn from the inside. From this single encounter, we have been able to build up a detailed snapshot of auroral activity using three of Cassini’s instruments. This gives us a fascinating insight into the processes that are generating Saturn’s radio aurora.”

Cassini encountered the auroral region at a distance of 247 million kilometres from Saturn’s cloud tops (about 4 times Saturn’s radius). Above the spectacular visible-light displays of Saturn’s Northern and Southern Lights, auroral emissions occur this far from the planet at radio wavelengths. The emissions are generated by fast moving electrons spiralling along Saturn’s magnetic field lines, which are threaded through the auroral region.

On 17 October 2008, Cassini’s MAG (magnetometer), RPWS (radio) and CAPS (electrons) instruments detected three successive curtains of active auroras. An international team of scientists has now combined magnetic, radio and particle in situ observations to build up a picture of the local radio source properties and the surrounding auroral plasma. They also identified the magnetic field lines along which radio aurora are emitted

“The instrument that measures radio waves, RPWS, can tell us the direction that each radio wave detected is travelling. By mapping this information onto magnetic field lines, we can work out the location of each radio source. In addition, we can project the source locations along the field lines that curve down to Saturn’s southern pole and visualise a radio oval comparable to the auroral features commonly seen at ultraviolet wavelengths. Unusually, the oval observed during this event is strongly distorted, which indicates a particularly enhanced auroral activity,” said Lamy.

Earth also has radio auroral emissions and these new results show that the process that generates radio aurora appears to be the same at both planets. Interestingly, there are two minor differences between the aurora at Earth and Saturn. At Earth, there is a cavity in the plasma above the auroral oval that rises for several thousand kilometres. The new observations show that this is not seen at Saturn. Secondly, radio sources were crossed at much further distances from the planet. These differences reflect intrinsic differences between the two magnetospheres, in terms of dimensions and planetary rotation speed.

Cassini crossed high latitude auroral field lines during 40 orbits in 2008, but this is the only time that the instruments detected unusually strong electric currents in that region in space with in situ evidence of an active aurora.

“We think that the unusual conditions responsible for these intense electric currents might have been triggered by a solar wind compression squeezing Saturn’s magnetic field and producing the observed auroras”, said Emma Bunce, a team member from the University of Leicester in the UK.

---------- Post added at 04:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:22 AM ----------

Amazing new Cassini image: Conjoined Moons.



Looking like half of a figure eight, two of Saturn's moons appear conjoined in this Cassini image.

The moon Dione, at the top in the image, is actually closer to the spacecraft here. However, because of the similar albedo, or reflectivity, of the two moons and because of the location of a particularly large crater near the south polar region of Dione, the moon appears blended seamlessly with Rhea. The large, faint crater Evander is centered at about 57 degrees south latitude, 145 degrees west longitude and can also be seen in the Dione south polar map (see PIA12579).

Lit terrain seen here is on the anti-Saturn side of Dione (1123 kilometers, 698 miles across) and on the area between the anti-Saturn and leading hemisphere on Rhea (1528 kilometers, 949 miles across).

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 27, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometers (688,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 78 degrees. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.6 million kilometers (994,000 miles) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 78 degrees. Image scale is 7 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel on Dione and 10 kilometers (6 miles) on Rhea.

The Cassini Equinox Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 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. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini Equinox Mission visit http://ciclops.org, www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:27 PM   #14
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SPACE.com: "Cassini Spacecraft Zips Close By Saturn's Moon Titan".
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:39 AM   #15
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JPL: "Hello, Saturn Summer Solstice: Cassini's New Chapter".


Artist concept of Cassini spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL.

Turning a midsummer night's dream into reality, NASA's Cassini spacecraft begins its new mission extension -- the Cassini Solstice Mission -- today. The mission extension will take Cassini a few months past Saturn's northern summer solstice (or midsummer) through September 2017. It will enable scientists to study seasonal changes and other long-term weather changes on Saturn and its moons.

Cassini had arrived just after Saturn's northern winter solstice in 2004, and the extension continues a few months past the northern summer solstice in May 2017. A complete seasonal period on Saturn has never been studied at this level of detail.

Cassini has revealed a bounty of scientific discoveries since its launch in 1997, including previously unknown characteristics of the Earth-like world of Saturn's moon Titan, and the plume of water vapor and organic particles spewing from another moon, Enceladus.

The Cassini Solstice Mission will enable continued study of these intriguing worlds. It will also allow scientists to continue observations of Saturn's rings and the magnetic bubble around the planet, known as the magnetosphere. Near the end of the mission, the spacecraft will make repeated dives between Saturn and its rings to obtain in-depth knowledge of the gas giant. During these dives, the spacecraft will study the internal structure of Saturn, its magnetic fluctuations and ring mass.

Cassini entered orbit around Saturn in 2004. Mission managers had originally planned for a four-year tour of the Saturnian system. In 2008, Cassini received a mission extension through September 2010 to probe the planet and its moons through equinox, when the sun was directly over the equator. Equinox, which occurred in August 2009, marked the turn from southern fall to northern spring. The second mission extension, called the Cassini Solstice Mission, was announced earlier this year.

"After nearly seven years in transit and six years in Saturn orbit, this spacecraft still just hums along," said Bob Mitchell, Cassini program manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "With seven more years to go, the science should be just as exciting as what we've seen so far."

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL.

More Cassini information is available, at www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
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