Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's All in the Lighting

Backlit Saturn Halo - 2006 Cassini Photo

Backlit Saturn - 2006 Cassini Photo

Saturn's Rings

Taking advantage of a rare photo moment, scientists using the Cassini spacecraft have found faint new rings circling Saturn and hints of hidden moons.

The images were taken as Saturn was virtually dead-set centered in front of the sun, as viewed by the orbiting Cassini probe. Cassini's cameras detected two new wispy trails of particles lit up like streams of dust in front of a brightly lit window, and confirmed two other previously discovered rings.

Scientists believe the rings are dust particles caused by asteroids or comets striking the surfaces of small inner moons circling Saturn. The moons' gravity is too weak to hold on to any kind of surface dust, so impacts blast material into Saturn's orbit, where the particles assemble into loosely packed rings in the moons' orbital paths.

Check out the article at Discovery News.

Some really awesome photography is coming back from space! Just imagine what kind of technology will be on-board future satellites!

Check out my previous space posts: Space 12, Space 11, Space 10, Space 9, Space 8, Space 7, Space 6, Space 5, Space 4, Space 3, Space 2 and Space 1


Anonymous said...

arent those rings so neat?

Annelisa said...