Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cassini cameras spot powerful new lightning storm on Saturn

15.02.2006


Following the recent detection of Saturnian radio bursts by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft that indicated a rare and powerful atmospheric storm, Cassini imaging scientists have spotted the storm in an unlikely fashion: they looked for it in the dark.



When lightning-generated radio noise from the storm was detected by Cassini on January 23, the spacecraft was at a place in its orbit where it was unable to image the sunlit side of Saturn. Instead, imaging scientists searched for the southern hemisphere storm in images of the planet’s night side. Fortunately, the small amount of sunlight reflecting off Saturn’s rings and illuminating the night side is enough to make features in the atmosphere visible.

Images showing the storm can be found at http://ciclops.org, http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini.


The storm is located on the side of Saturn that faces the spacecraft when the radio emissions are detected; Cassini does not observe the radio emissions for half a Saturnian day when the storm is on the planet’s other side.

The latitude of the new storm matches that of the "Dragon storm," which was a powerful emitter of radio noise and was imaged by Cassini in 2004. It lies in a region of the southern hemisphere referred to as "storm alley" by scientists because of the high level of storm activity observed there by Cassini. The storm’s north-south dimension is about 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles).

"It’s really the only large storm on the whole planet," says Andrew Ingersoll, a member of the Cassini imaging team. "It’s in the right place and it appeared at the right time to match the radio emissions, so it has to be the right storm," he said.

Cassini’s investigation of the storm has also been aided by the efforts of Earth-based amateur astronomers, who were able view Saturn’s dayside with their telescopes when Cassini could not. The amateurs’ images of Saturn provided the first visual confirmation of the storm, now revealed in detail by the new views from Cassini.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the U.S., England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team leader (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Preston Dyches | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ciclops.org
http://www.nasa.gov/cassini
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht MEMS chips get metatlenses
21.02.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht International team publishes roadmap to enhance radioresistance for space colonization
21.02.2018 | Biogerontology Research Foundation

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>