Mr. Eccles Presents | Spokes in Saturn’s Rings & Cassini Huygens Landing

I’ve a couple of great vids by Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer this morning! In the first, we see spokes, almost like those of a wheel, in the rings of Saturn. The mechanism by which they come about is a bit complex to get into here, but one explanation involves micron-sized ring particles electrically charged by the ionizing UV radiation from the distant Sun, focused by Saturn’s magnetosphere outward along the width of the rings, creating what basically amounts to enormous natural linear particle accelerators. How kewl is that? When Voyager I was here on its survey of the Saturn system, it was basically being blasted with radiation when crossing the plane of the rings along the path of the spokes! I love the fact that our species can build craft that durable, a craft now venturing in to the space between the stars!

Below, we have the recording of the entry of the Cassini Huygens lander entering and landing on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan with the aid of a parachute. Here, we can see details of the surface, below the ever-present upper clouds of smog, worse than L.A. California in the 1970s, and the mountains and other land formations near the landing site. These are details that no one on Earth had ever seen before!

And now, you see them too!

Tf. Tk. Tts.

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