Saturn’s bulging core and twisting gravitational forces suggest new ages for the planet’s moons. They appear younger than previously thought.
Saturn's moon Dione, foreground, appears darker than the moon Tethys because it has a lower surface albedo, as shown in a photograph taken from the Cassini spacecraft on March 23, 2010. At the time, Cassini was about 746,000 miles from Dione and about 1.1 million miles from Tethys. Image via NASA JPL.
So far this year, the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas have been slow to freeze, setting a record low for the floating cap of sea ice in November.
Image via NASA
It’s not the most famous star in Cetus, or the brightest, although it carries the designation Alpha. But Menkar has its own claims to fame.
A photograph of the constellation Cetus the Whale, via Till Credner and Wikimedia Commons.
The new chip will let astronomers peer through the dust cloud in which new planets are forming, in much the same way that firefighters use infrared to see through smoke.
Cassini spacecraft at Saturn now in its final year. Carolyn Porco said: “Let these images … remind you that we’ve lived a bold and daring adventure around the solar system’s most magnificent planet.”
From tropical or Southern Hemisphere latitudes, the Large Magellanic Cloud is easy to see. Look for it in the evening from December to April.
This ground-based image of the Large Magellanic Cloud was taken by German astrophotographer Eckhard Slawik. Image via ESA
Mars’ atmospheric pressure is less than 1% that of Earth, so spacecraft come down hard. Europe has been trying for a Mars’ soft landing since 2003. How they plan to succeed.
Mars seen by the Viking oriter. Image via NASA/JPL/USGS
Before the dinosaurs, giant insects ruled the world more than 300 million years ago.
Poster for the film The Deadly Mantis (1957) by artist Reynold Brown, via Wikimedia Commons.
Lucy lived 3.18 million years ago in what’s now Ethiopia. An analysis of high-resolution CT scans of her fossilized skeleton shows she was equipped for climbing trees.
A front view of Lucy, based on a reconstruction by paleoartist John Gurche. Image credit: Smithsonian Institution Human Origins Initiative.