Mars has Beautiful Auroras Visible with the Naked Eye, NASA Confirms


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The stunning light show is similar to the Northern Lights, but a different colour

The Northern Lights are one of Earth’s most spectacular phenomena – with eerie green and red streaks colouring the sky.

It turns out that Mars has a similar light show – visible to the naked eye of anyone on the surface of the Red Planet – but it glows a bright blue.

That’s according to research by planetary scientist Cyril Simon Wedlund from Aalto University.

He and his team carried out an experiment in the lab to simulate the conditions on Mars.

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The Planeterella sphere simulates a magnetized planet with an atmosphere of CO2 and bombarded by the solar wind. Blue aurorae develop according to its magnetic field configuration. (D. Bernard/IPAG — CNRS)

The experiment replicated the Martian atmosphere – made up mostly of carbon dioxide – using a ‘Planeterrella’, a piece of kit that can recreate aurora in the laboratory.

In the case of the Mars experiment, a blue glow formed around the magnetic structures.

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They believe that blue is the most prominent color, though red and green may also make an appearance, and that the lights — like ones on Earth — appear several times in a solar cycle, after intense solar activity.

If an astronaut looked to the southern sky from the surface of Mars during one of these flare-ups, the researchers say, he or she would see a sky glowing with blue. Until then, we’ll just have to keep imagining them.

The Auroras are visible in many other planets like Jupiter, Saturn. below are the some photographs of auroras taken by various probes.

Source : Washington post, Mirror

The icy eyes of Mars


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One thing all solid bodies in the Solar System share in common is craters. Some worlds, like Mercury or the Moon, are covered in them, having no atmosphere to erode them away. Earth has relatively few; our dynamic atmosphere and water circulation wipes them out after a few millennia. And some icy bodies like Saturn’s moon Enceladus or Jupiter’s Europa only have a few because their surfaces are also constantly changing… on a geologic timescale.

Source : Sen Blog

Scientists Discover Exoplanet With Rings Far More Impressive Than Our Saturn


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Artist’s conception of the extrasolar ring system circling the young giant planet or brown dwarf J1407b is shown. Credit: Ron Miller

Children and adults alike marvel at the rings around Saturn. In a model of our solar system, Saturn—and its rings—is typically the one that gets the most attention.

But while it is easy to be fascinated by Saturn, astronomers have recently found an exoplanet with an even grander expanse of wings that is sure to wow a new generation of stargazers.

“The star is much too far away to observe the rings directly, but we could make a detailed mode based on the rapid brightness variations in the star light passing through the ring system. If we could replace Saturn’s rings with the rings around J1407b, they would be easily visible at night and be many times larger than the full moon,” explains lead researcher Matthew Kenworthy. “The details that we see in the light curve are incredible. The eclipse lasted for several weeks, but you see rapid changes on time scales of tens of minutes as a result of fine structures in the rings.”

Study co-author Eric Mamaek, who first found the rings of the planet, comments, “The planetary science community has theorized for decades that planets like Jupiter and Saturn would have had, at an early stage, disks around them that then led to the formation of satellites. However, until we discovered this object in 2012, no-one had seen such a ring system. This is the first snapshot of satellite formation on million-kilometer scales around a substellar object.”

The University of Rochester professor of physics and astronomy goes on to say, “This planet is much larger than Jupiter or Saturn, and its ring system is roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s rings are today. You could think of it as a kind of super Saturn.”

Source : piercepioneer.com

Huygens probe landed on Saturn’s moon Titan on 14 January 10 years ago


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Image of Titan taken by NASA’s Cassini Space Orbiter (Click Image to Download)

In honor of the Huygens probe’s historic 2005 landing on the surface of Titan (Saturn’s largest satellite, and the only moon in our solar system with a dense atmosphere), NASA has released a movie that recreates, with data collected by Huygens and the Cassini orbiter, a dramatic approach of the moon’s surface from deep space.

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CREDIT : NASA

The descent on 15 January 2005 lasted a total of two hours, with Huygens landing on a frigid floodplain surrounded by icy cobblestones.

It is the only landing that has ever been performed in the outer solar system to date, and one of only a handful of bodies – the others being Venus, Mars, the moon, two asteroids and most recently a comet – that manmade probes have ever landed on.

On the surface the probe continued to send back data for more than an hour, until its batteries were drained.

Since that historic moment, scientists have pored over volumes of data about Titan sent back to Earth.

Here is the Video ,

Source : Dailymail , io9

Amazing details of Saturn & its moons captured by NASA


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Image of Saturn Taken by Cassini Space Probe (Click Image to Download)

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been studying Saturn and its moons for a decade now, routinely delivering stunning images of the second largest planet in our solar system. One of its noteworthy achievements is that it is now shedding a lot more light on six moons that were once shrouded in mystery.

When NASA’s Voyager spacecraft flew by moons like Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, and Iapetus back in the 1980s, it sent back landmark images that were nevertheless fuzzy, incomplete, and hard to make out. Now, Cassini has plugged the holes – with bursts of color, no less – and delivered stunning new images of these icy satellites.

Here is a before/after shot of Mimas showcasing the differences between Voyager’s image (left) and Cassini’s (right).

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“The most obvious [discoveries] are differences in color and brightness between the two hemispheres of Tethys, Dione and Rhea,” wrote Preston Dyches of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “The dark reddish colors on the moons’ trailing hemispheres are due to alteration by charged particles and radiation in Saturn’s magnetosphere.”

“Except for Mimas and Iapetus, the blander leading hemispheres of these moons – that is, the sides that always face forward as the moons orbit Saturn – are all coated with icy dust from Saturn’s E-ring, formed from tiny particles erupting from the south pole of Enceladus.”

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You can view the rest of the images here. Impressively, however, these aren’t the only photographs of Saturn and its moons making headlines this week.

Source : RT.com

Amazing photo of Saturn and its Titan moon looks like high art in deep space


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This amazing image shows Saturn and its moon Titan as crescents on Aug. 11, 2013. NASA/JPL-CALTECH/SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE

An amazing photo taken by a NASA probe shows Saturn and its large moon Titan shining as pretty crescents in deep space.

The two cosmic bodies were imaged by the Cassini spacecraft, which has been exploring the Saturn system for about 10 years. The image — released on Monday (Nov. 3) — was captured as the robotic ship was flying about 1.1 million miles (1.7 million kilometers) from the ringed wonder on Aug. 11, 2013, according to NASA. Some of Saturn’s ring plane can even be seen in the black and white image.

“More than just pretty pictures, high-phase observations — taken looking generally toward the sun, as in this image — are very powerful scientifically since the way atmospheres and rings transmit sunlight is often diagnostic of compositions and physical states,” NASA officials said in an image description. “In this example, Titan’s crescent nearly encircles its disk due to the small haze particles high in its atmosphere scattering the incoming light of the distant sun.”

Continue reading Amazing photo of Saturn and its Titan moon looks like high art in deep space

Image shows how EVERY planet can fit between Earth and Moon !!!


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How many planets can you fit between Earth and the moon? If your answer was anything less than ‘all of them’ then we’re afraid you’re incorrect.

In an amazing mosaic image it’s shown how you can fit all other worlds in the solar system between us and our natural satellite, with room to spare.

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In reality the distance between Earth and the moon varies from 225,622 miles (363,104km) to 252,088 miles (405,696km) – the lower limit of which would not leave room for Neptune.

However, Fraser Cain from Universe Today did the maths and found the numbers were a little off, with the actual distance left when using the average Earth-moon distance would be about 2,729 miles (4,392km). This, he says, would be enough to also fit Pluto in the line-up and another dwarf planet except Eris, which is too large.

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Last year astronomical artist Ron Miller created eye-opening illustrations imagining what the night sky would look like if the moon was replaced by the other planets in the solar system. Here we see how big Jupiter would look in the sky if it were in the position of the moon.

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This incredible image was taken by Nasa’s Juno spacecraft on its way to Jupiter in August 2011. It shows how big the gap is between Earth (the white dot on the left) and the moon (the dot on the right). Here they are 250,000 miles (402,000km) apart. It was taken from a distance of six million miles (9.7 million km).

So,By seeing these images you will get the idea of HOW BIG IS THE UNIVERSE

source : DailyMail

Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan


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This near-infrared, color view from Cassini shows the Sun glinting off of Titan’s north polar seas.

As it soared past Saturn’s large moon Titan recently, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft caught a glimpse of bright sunlight reflecting off hydrocarbon seas.

In the past, Cassini had captured separate views of the polar seas and the Sun glinting off them, but this is the first time both have been seen together in the same view.

Also in the image:

– An arrow-shaped complex of bright methane clouds hovers near Titan’s north pole. The clouds could be actively refilling the lakes with rainfall.

– A “bathtub ring,” or bright margin, around Kraken Mare — the sea containing the reflected sunglint — indicates that the sea was larger at some point, but evaporation has decreased its size.

Titan’s seas are mostly liquid methane and ethane. Before Cassini’s arrival at Saturn, scientists suspected that Titan might have bodies of open liquid on its surface. Cassini found only great fields of sand dunes near the equator and lower latitudes but located lakes and seas near the poles, particularly in the north.

The new view shows Titan in infrared light. It was obtained by Cassini’s Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) on August 21.

 

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High-Altitude Methane Ice Cloud Discovered Floating Above Titan’s Pole


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NASA scientists have uncovered a starting new find on Saturn’s moon, Titan. They’ve found an unexpected high-altitude methane ice cloud, similar to exotic clouds formed high above Earth’s own poles. This cloud in the stratosphere over Titan’s north pole (left) is similar to Earth’s polar stratospheric clouds (right). NASA scientists found that Titan’s cloud contains methane ice, which was not previously thought to form in that part of the atmosphere. Cassini first spotted the cloud in 2006. (Photo : L. NASA/JPL/U. of Ariz./LPGNantes; R. NASA/GSFC/M. Schoeberl)

NASA scientists have uncovered a starting new find on Saturn’s moon, Titan. They’ve found an unexpected high-altitude methane ice cloud, similar to exotic clouds formed high above Earth’s own poles.

The researchers first spotted the cloud with the help of NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. It was part of the winter cap of condensation over Titan’s north pole. Now, scientists have teased apart the data and found that the cloud contained methane ice, which produces a much denser cloud than the previously identified ethane ice.

“The idea that methane clouds could form this high on Titan is completely new,” said Carrie Anderson, lead author of the new study, in a news release. “Nobody considered that possible before.”

The temperatures in Titan’s lower stratosphere are not the same at all latitudes. In fact, the high-altitude temperature near the north pole is far colder than just south of the equator. This temperature difference-as much as 11 degrees Fahrenheit-is enough to yield methane ice.

So how do these clouds form? The mechanisms for forming these high-altitude clouds are different from what happens in the troposphere. Titan has a global circulation pattern; warm air in the summer hemisphere wells up from the surface and enters the stratosphere, slowly making its way to the winter pole. There, the air sinks back down and cools as it descends. This forms the methane clouds.

Currently, the scientists are gathering more information about Saturn’s moon in order to better understand the natural processes that occur on the alien world. This could shed light on the processes that occur on exoplanets and allow scientists to apply their findings to processes that also occur on Earth.

“Titan continues to amaze with natural processes similar to those on Earth, yet involving materials different from our familiar water,” said Scott Edgington, Cassini deputy project scientist. “As we approach southern winter solstice on Titan, we will further explore how these cloud formation processes might vary with season.”