Feeds

Enceladus presents a puzzle for Cassini team

Weird stuff afoot around Saturn

SANS - Survey on application security programs

So, on 14 July this year, Cassini flew within 176km of the surface of the moon, and returned some spectacular images.

The data it gathered during that fly-by revealed that the moon does indeed have an atmosphere, and a very strange one at that. "It is probably around the entire body, but seems to be concentrated at the south pole," Dougherty explains, comparing the plume of material emanating from the moon to a cometary jet.

Temperature data from the surface revealed that the south pole is conspicuously hot, in contrast to the researchers' expectations.

John Spencer from the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, analysed the data from the Composite IR Spectrometer said that they had expected the hottest temperatures - no more than 80 Kelvin - to be found near the equator, at noon when the sun was shining directly overhead.

What they actually found was a hotspot of around 85 Kelvin over the south pole. Zooming in for a closer look revealed that the temperature directly over one of the crevasses was 91 Kelvin: "Distinctly warmer than its surroundings," Spencer confirms.

Data from the visual IR mapping spectrometer provided more evidence of some kind of internal heat source.

The ice crystals near the tiger stripes are highly crystalline, as compared to the less ordered ice covering the rest of the moon. Bob Brown from the University of Arizona says that this forces the conclusion that the surface in that area is either very hot, or very young, or both.

The researchers also found simple chains of carbon on the surface near the fractures. "There is something very special about the fractures," Brown said.

Cassini has two more flybys of Enceladus scheduled, and the researchers will be keen to get more data from those to help them unravel the mystery. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.