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Tag: Saturn

See the rings of Saturn during annual astronomical phenomenon

See the rings of Saturn during annual astronomical phenomenon

Science
August is the perfect month to dust off the telescope and point it to the cosmos as one of the biggest planets in the solar system shines brighter than any other time of the year. Saturn has been visible for late-night stargazers for most of the year, but in August, the planet will be visible all night long, as long as it isn't cloudy. On Monday, Saturn will officially reach opposition, meaning that it will appear opposite of the sun from the perspective of the Earth. Saturn is at opposition once every year. Around the same time of opposition, Saturn will make its closest approach to the Earth, although "close" is a relative term as more than 800 million miles will still separate the two planets. At this distance, it takes light more than one hour to travel from one planet to...
Meteor shower and conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in busy night for stargazers

Meteor shower and conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in busy night for stargazers

Technology
Stargazers will be able to see the year's final display of shooting stars tonight.The Ursid meteor shower is expected to peak on Monday night but will be visible into the early hours of Tuesday. At its peak the shower will produce around five meteors per hour, which will burn up as they hit the atmosphere at 36 miles per second.Royal Observatory Greenwich says the meteor shower occurs around the time of the winter solstice, meaning longer nights for stargazing.The meteors will be visible to the naked eye but to have the best chance of seeing them, people should be far away from artificial lights and give their eyes time to adjust to the dark. ...
Saturn losing rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

Saturn losing rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

Technology
Saturn is losing its rings at a "worst-case-scenario" rate according to new research by NASA. The gas giant's iconic rings are being pulled into the planet by gravity as a dusty rain of ice particles under the influence of the planet's magnetic field."We estimate that this 'ring rain' drains an amount of water products that could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool from Saturn's rings in half an hour," said James O'Donoghue of NASA."From this alone, the entire ring system will be gone in 300 million years," Mr O'Donoghue added, but noted that actually the situation was far more dire.Measurements of ring-material detected falling into Saturn's equator by the Cassini spacecraft suggest that the rings actually have less than 100 million years to live. "This is relatively s...
Cassini: Probe incinerates on entry to Saturn

Cassini: Probe incinerates on entry to Saturn

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceThe American-led Cassini space mission to Saturn has just come to a spectacular end. Controllers had commanded the probe to destroy itself by plunging into the planet's atmosphere. It survived for just over a minute before being broken apart. Cassini had run out of fuel and Nasa had determined that the probe should not be allowed simply to wander uncontrolled among Saturn and its moons. The loss of signal from the spacecraft occurred pretty close to the prediction. Here at mission control, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, the drop-off was timed at 04:55 PDT (11:55 GMT; 12:55 BST). How the last hours unfoldedNasa's Earl Maize addressed fellow controllers: "Congratulations to you all. This has been an incredible missi...
Cassini: Saturn probe turns towards its death plunge

Cassini: Saturn probe turns towards its death plunge

Science
The international Cassini spacecraft at Saturn has executed the course correction that will send it to destruction at the end of the week.The probe flew within 120,000km of the giant moon Titan on Monday - an encounter that bent its trajectory just enough to put it on a collision path with the ringed planet. Nothing can now stop the death plunge in Saturn's atmosphere on Friday. Cassini will be torn to pieces as it heads down towards the clouds.Its components will melt and be dispersed through the planet's gases.Ever since it arrived at Saturn 13 years ago, the probe has used the gravity of Titan - the second biggest moon in the Solar System - to slingshot itself into different positions from which to study the planet and its stunning rings. It has been a smart strategy because Cassini wou...