Articles about saturn


Organic stuff, radiation, unexpected methane... Yes, we're talking about Saturn's surprising rings

Scientists are only beginning to discover just how complex Saturn’s ring system is after digging into the data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. In a series of papers published in Science and the Geophysical Review Letters, different groups of researchers have found that the rings shed organic compounds and they may not …

Astroboffins, get in here and explain Saturn's odd-shaped balls

A trio of physicists reckoned they’ve figured out why some of Saturn’s moons are so oddly shaped, with some looking like giant floating ravioli and others imitating stubby baguettes. Saturn is most well known for its complex ring system and it is estimated that at least 62 moons are hiding amongst the structure so far. NASA’s …
Katyanna Quach, 23 May 2018

Farewell Cassini! NASA's Saturnian spacecraft waves goodbye for its Grand Finale

Cassini, one of NASA’s flagship spacecraft, is poised to meet its fiery end today as it plunges down into Saturn’s atmosphere at a speed of 123,000kph (77,000mph) per hour, where it will soon vaporise. The shuttle was to point its antennas in the direction of Earth as it sent its final message at 03:32 PDT (10:32 UTC), …
Katyanna Quach, 15 Sep 2017

Cassini probe's death dive to send data at just 27 kilobits per second

Space is nasty and sending data across 83 light-minutes of it isn't easy, so the Cassini probe's death dive into the clouds of Saturn will be an instruments-only affair undocumented by photographs. Cassini has surveyed Saturn since 2004 but is out of fuel, so will be crashed into Saturn instead of leaving it an an orbit that …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Sep 2017

Astroboffins spot tiniest star yet – we guess you could call it... small fry

The tiniest star, similar in size to Saturn, has been discovered as part of an eclipsing binary system by a group of astronomers. Codenamed EBLM J0555-57Ab, researchers believe the star is teetering on the edge of how small a star can possibly be. It has a mass (0.081M☉) and radius (0.084R☉) less than a tenth of our Sun’s mass …
Katyanna Quach, 11 Jul 2017

NASA boffins find an explanation for Saturn's wonky moon

Enceladus, Saturn’s watery moon, may have been tipped on its axis after being battered with an asteroid, new evidence reveals. NASA’s Cassini mission may be entering its Grand Finale stage, but the data collected is still a treasure trove for discovery. Results published last month in Icarus, a planetary science journal, show …
Katyanna Quach, 31 May 2017

NASA's Cassini snaps pic inside Saturn's ring – peace among the stars

Photo NASA's Cassini probe has made its first dive inside Saturn's rings, skimming about 1,900 miles (3,000KM) over the surface of the gas giant's stormy atmosphere. America's space boffins briefly lost contact with their craft during its descent on Wednesday. That's because the dish antenna used to phone home to Earth acted as a …
Iain Thomson, 27 Apr 2017

Goodbye, cruel world! NASA's Cassini preps for kamikaze Saturn dive

Video NASA's Cassini spacecraft will enter the final stages of its mission by nosediving between Saturn’s rings on April 26, before it rams into the planet's atmosphere and vaporizes. The spaceship was launched 20 years ago and has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004. Now, running low on fuel, it's preparing for the descent …
Rings around distant planet

Cassini tickles Saturn's rings ahead of final death plunge

The Cassini space probe has begun a series of orbits designed to swing it through the edges of Saturn's ring system. The probe, which has been orbiting the gas giant since 2004, fired a six-second burst of its rocket motor at 0409 PT (1209 UTC) to put it into a swooping orbit 57,000 miles (91,000 kilometers) over the gas giant …
Iain Thomson, 6 Dec 2016

Supercomputers crack Saturn's ice-cold ring

Supercomputing boffins may have solved the mystery of how it came to be that Saturn's rings are so bright in the night sky. The planet's rings are largely made of ice, making them so visible that Galileo first spotted them using a primitive telescope in the early 1600s. Meanwhile, similar ring systems around Uranus and Neptune …
Iain Thomson, 2 Nov 2016

NASA starts countdown for Cassini probe's Saturn death dive

NASA has revealed its final plans to crash the Cassini probe into Saturn next year. Cassini–Huygens, to give the craft its full name, launched in 1997 and skipped past Venus twice and Earth once for some gravity-assisted acceleration action. It then grazed Asteroid 2685 Masursky, used Jupiter for acceleration and arrived at at …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Sep 2016
Voyager mission logo

Voyager 2's closest Saturn swoop was 35 years ago today

The Voyager mission is celebrating another remarkable milestone, the 35th anniversary of Voyager 2's closest encounter with Saturn. Voyager 1 launched on September 5th, 1977, a few days after Voyager 2's August 20th, ascent. Despite that launch order, Voyager 1 made it to Saturn first, making its closest approach on November …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Aug 2016

Saturn spacecraft immune to mysterious Planet 9's charms

NASA has been obliged to clarify that if the hypothetical Planet 9 exists, it is not responsible for "unexplained deviations" in the orbit of the Cassini spacecraft around Saturn. Back in January, CalTech boffins Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown claimed to have found evidence for a mysterious body, around 10 times the mass of …
Lester Haines, 11 Apr 2016
Cassini image of Saturn taken on 10 October 2013. Pic: NASA

Cosmic bonks, breakups led to birth of Saturn's moons as dinos died out

Had dinosaurs had telescopes, and the wherewithal to use them, they could have seen a series of cosmic prangs around Saturn that created new moons. As far as we can tell, Saturn has 62 moons in orbit around the gas giant all moving in different planes, as well as the planet's famous ring systems. A team from the SETI Institute …
Iain Thomson, 25 Mar 2016
Image of Enceladus taken during Cassini fly-by. Pic: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Cassini probe teases with intimate Enceladus snaps

NASA has published some unprocessed images of Saturn's moon Enceladus, grabbed earlier this week when the Cassini spacecraft swooped to within 49km (30 miles) of the icy satellite's south polar region. Images from the intimate encounter include Enceladus posing with Saturn's rings... Enceladus and Saturn's rings. Pic: NASA/ …
Lester Haines, 30 Oct 2015

NASA's Cassini probe skims icy moon Enceladus

NASA's Cassini spacecraft yesterday made it closest approach yet to Saturn's moon Enceladus, swooping to within 49km (30 miles) of the icy body's south polar region. In the process, it passed through the liquid plumes which spew from Enceladus, originating in its sub-surface ocean. Scientists hope a small sample of plume …
Lester Haines, 29 Oct 2015
The moon Enceladus is comparible in size to the UK

WARM, WOBBLING MOON believed to hide MOIST CRADLE of life

The wobblings of the warm and perhaps welcoming Enceladus, moon of Saturn, are said by top boffins to offer a surefire clue that wetness able to sustain life is to be found within. It seems that top boffins at Cornell uni have finally become willing to go firm on the matter following lengthy observations of the moon's motion, …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Sep 2015

Gas giant cores actually built from shedloads of gravel

New research has lent weight to the idea that the cores of gas giants, such as Saturn and Jupiter, were quickly formed from billions of small pebbles, rather than a smaller number of more substantial rocks over an extended period of time. According to Nature, previous wisdom had it that these planets built up from "a stately …
Lester Haines, 20 Aug 2015

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