Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Saturn and More

I am home from the first show of the year in Escanaba, but I must admit it was quite slow.  I didn't do much yesterday but I'm trying to get back into the swing of things today.

When I pulled into the driveway on Sunday night, I didn't notice the note at first.  I've had a couple dollar bets with my friend, Bob Stocking on two of the University of Michigan basketball games.  He is a UofM fan, too, but just wanted to add slightly to the game's interest.

Saturn and its north polar hexagon dwarf Mimas as the moon peeks over the planet's limb. Saturn's A ring also makes an appearance on the far right. Mimas is 246 miles (396 kilometers) across.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 28, 2012 at a distance of approximately 495,000 miles (797,000 kilometers) from Saturn. 
 The ghostly spokes in Saturn's B ring continue to put on a show for the Cassini spacecraft cameras in this recent image. The spokes, believed to be a seasonal phenomenon, are expected to disappear as Saturn nears its northern hemisphere summer. Scientists continue to monitor the spokes to better understand their origin and evolution.
 The small moon Atlas also appears here barely visible in between the A ring and the F ring, which is the thin ring located furthest from Saturn, as the fainter dot close to the A ring. Atlas is closer to the bottom of the image. A bright star also appears in the gap between the two rings, and there are six other stars visible (one through the C ring, near the planet). This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings on Dec. 20, 2012.  The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 840,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) from Saturn  
Peering over the shoulder of giant Saturn, through its rings, and across interplanetary space, NASA's Cassini spacecraft spies the bright, cloudy terrestrial planet, Venus. The vast distance from Saturn means that Venus only shows up as a white dot, just above and to the right of the image center. Venus, along with Mercury, Earth, and Mars, is one of the rocky 'terrestrial' planets in the solar system that orbit relatively close to the sun. Though Venus has an atmosphere of carbon dioxide that reaches nearly 900 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius) and a surface pressure 100 times that of Earth, it is considered a twin to our planet because of their similar size, mass, rocky composition and orbit. Venus is covered in thick sulfuric acid clouds, making it very bright.  This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 10, 2012.  This is a true-color picture of Saturn and Venus. 

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