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#921102 - 06/12/17 07:42 AM The beautifully-ringed planet
Mona - Astronomy Online   content
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6349
Loc: United Kingdom
Saturn is near opposition. That means Saturn, Earth, and the Sun are almost all lined up. It also means this is when Saturn is closest to us - time for a good view. Saturn rises as the Sun sets and may be visible all night long. However the higher your latitude, the later it will rise. And you'll see it low in the sky.

I admit it. In this image, you can't see Saturn's rings. But you can see the Milky Way here, which is a real treat for those of us whose skies are too light-polluted to see the Milky Way. And you can also see Saturn - it's the whitish dot in the upper part of the picture to the left of center. The picture is a two-panel mosaic, and you wouldn't see this without a telescope.

Image Credit & Copyright: Mohammad Nouroozi


Edited by Mona - Astronomy (06/12/17 07:43 AM)
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#921106 - 06/12/17 07:59 PM Re: The beautifully-ringed planet [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Online   content
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6349
Loc: United Kingdom
Now here's a view of Saturn you don't see everyday. This hexagon is a persisting cloud pattern around the north pole. The sides of the hexagon are about 13,800 km (8,600 mi) long, which is more than the diameter of Earth. This image comes from data collected by the Cassini spacecraft - it's made up from observations at wavelengths from infrared right into the ultraviolet.
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#921134 - 06/13/17 08:49 PM Re: The beautifully-ringed planet [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Online   content
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6349
Loc: United Kingdom
The rings may look solid from a long way off, but the Cassini spacecraft shows structure in Saturn's rings. This view was taken from about 566,000 miles from Saturn looking towards the sunlit side of the rings from about 15 degrees above the ringplane.

Much of the structure in the rings was caused by the planet's tiny moons.
  • The dark gaps near the left edge of the A ring (the broad, outermost ring here) are caused by the moons Pan and Daphnis embedded in the gaps.
  • The wider Cassini division (dark area between the B ring and A ring here) is created by a resonance with the medium-sized moon Mimas (which orbits well outside the rings).
  • Prometheus is seen orbiting just outside the A ring in the lower left quadrant of this image.
  • The F ring can be faintly seen to the left of Prometheus.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute


Edited by Mona - Astronomy (06/15/17 09:25 AM)
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#921264 - 06/20/17 09:57 AM Re: The beautifully-ringed planet [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Online   content
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6349
Loc: United Kingdom
Here's one of the best ever pictures of Saturn taken from Earth. It was taken at the Pic du Midi observatory, with some of the best seeing conditions in the world. (Notice hexagonal polar region and subtle inner rings).

Note: When the "seeing" is good, it means that the atmosphere is steady and doesn't distort what you see.


Edited by Mona - Astronomy (07/15/17 01:45 AM)
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#921784 - 07/15/17 02:06 AM Re: The beautifully-ringed planet [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Online   content
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6349
Loc: United Kingdom
You may well be wowed by this 2004 Cassini image of Saturn's rings. But keep in mind that they show the rings in ultraviolet light which our eyes can't see, so they're also color-enhanced.

The difference in color tells astronomers something about the composition of the various rings and the overall structure of the ring system. But you can also just admire it as a work of art.

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Colorado


Edited by Mona - Astronomy (07/15/17 02:07 AM)
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#921862 - 07/18/17 11:11 AM Re: The beautifully-ringed planet [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Online   content
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6349
Loc: United Kingdom
Rings above dawn. Cassini's view of the rings of Saturn arching above the brightly outlined curved limb of the planet.

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute / Don Davis
Image processing: Colorized image from a grayscale view.
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Mona Evans
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#922464 - 08/15/17 11:04 PM Re: The beautifully-ringed planet [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Online   content
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6349
Loc: United Kingdom
Cloudy Waves (false color) on Saturn.
Quote:
Clouds on Saturn take on the appearance of strokes from a cosmic brush thanks to the wavy way that fluids interact in Saturn's atmosphere.

Neighboring bands of clouds move at different speeds and directions depending on their latitudes. This generates turbulence where bands meet and leads to the wavy structure along the interfaces. Saturn’s upper atmosphere generates the faint haze seen along the limb of the planet in this image.

This false color view used images taken by the Cassini spacecraft on May 18, 2017 using a combination of filters which preferentially admit wavelengths of near-infrared light. The different colors represent different wavelengths. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Saturn.
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