Cassini: Farewell to Saturn

Discussion in 'science, nature and environment' started by Crispy, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Starting later this month, Cassini, low on fuel, will make a series of ever-closer orbits of Saturn, between the planet and its rings, until finally entering its atmosphere in September. Here's a spectacular video from Erik Wernquist, who made that Wanderers short film:

    (he did one for New Horizons too)

    The spacecraft will do its best to transmit right to the very end, giving us the closest ever look at the atmosphere and clouds of Saturn.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  2. EastEnder

    EastEnder Brixton Barnacle

    I can't believe it's been TWENTY years since Cassini launched! :eek:

    Think I might shed a tear when it finally ends....:oops:
    Badgers and editor like this.
  3. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Hell, I shed a tear at the end of this video!
    Nylock and EastEnder like this.
  4. MikeMcc

    MikeMcc Well-Known Member

  5. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    Isn't that scheduled for 8am tomorrow?
    Badgers likes this.
  6. 2hats


    Carrier signal lock and data flowing; so all well, it survived.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
  7. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

  8. T & P

    T & P |-o-| (-o-) |-o-|

    Will there be (or indeed, have there ever been) any close up images taken of the rings? Perhaps edge-on? I'm thinking this kind of artist's impression...

    spitfire likes this.
  9. 2hats


    Not until guided (probably AI driven) probes are flown (or fly themselves) there which can autonomously and interactively navigate within the rings. No (purely) orbiting spacecraft could risk positioning to take such images. Even co-orbiting with the ring material would be risky. Navigating like that would be expensive in energy terms too.

    Cassini has taken some nice images which hint at the weird and wonderful gravitational ballet the individual ring building blocks play with each other and local satellites of Saturn (eg below), but that ring material isn’t itself resolved.
    This is the case even in the ‘highest resolution’ images taken of the rings in recent months (note bright pixels and streaks in this image are noise in the detector due to cosmic ray hits and the local radiation environment):
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
    ebonics, teqniq, fishfinger and 6 others like this.
  10. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

  11. Jonti

    Jonti what the dormouse said

  12. HAL9000

    HAL9000 Lasting Damage

    Cassini hints at young age for Saturn's rings

    Cassini hints at young age for Saturn's rings - BBC News
    bubblesmcgrath likes this.
  13. mather

    mather Well-Known Member

  14. NoXion

    NoXion Keep an eye out for diamonds

    The atmosphere in those locations scatters blue light, much like a clear sky does on Earth.

    However, given that Saturn is a gas giant, the cause of the blue colour is more likely to be caused by the presence of methane, like on Neptune, rather than nitrogen and oxygen.
    fishfinger and mather like this.
  15. Jonti

    Jonti what the dormouse said

    It's the rings of Saturn, Jim, but not as we've known them:


    This view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows a wave structure in Saturn's rings known as the Janus 2:1 spiral density wave. More from NASA ...
  16. S☼I

    S☼I unvarnished symphony

    Astounding image - and explanation.
  17. Jonti

    Jonti what the dormouse said

    Just a beautiful picture really, showing Saturn's polar aurora imaged in UV light:

  18. 2hats


    Titan slingshot maneuver completed as planned late last night. Now set up for atmospheric entry on Friday.
  19. 2hats


    As Cassini enters its final hours, NASA has released a free ebook documenting some of the most fascinating/beautiful/revalatory images from the entire mission.
    wayward bob and Signal 11 like this.
  20. 2hats


    Timeline for the final plunge coming up, expected around 1254BST tomorrow (times indicated are Earth received time in PDT, so add 8 hours for BST):
    farmerbarleymow likes this.
  21. petee

    petee i'm spartacus

    editor likes this.
  22. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    I'll shed a tear for this wonderful piece of technology.
  23. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    mmm, this is nice :)

  24. 2hats


    Recorded data playback is coming to an end and Cassini will switch to real-time data transmission shortly (and for the last time). Spacecraft rolled to allow the INMS (Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer) to sample the planet’s atmosphere all the way down. About 171,000km left to go.
  25. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    brilliant :cool:
  26. 2hats


    Right about now, in the Saturn time frame, Cassini is dying a fiery death in the upper atmosphere. We will see loss of signal in just under 90 minutes when it arrives at Earth.

    NASA Canberra DSN antenna is listening to live bent-pipe data with ESA’s New Norcia antenna also recording as a back up to make sure nothing is missed.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  27. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    I was disappointed to learn that the actual disintegration happens far higher than any visible atmosphere, so the striking image of it dying in blue skies is a fabrication :(
  28. 2hats


    Indeed it is. Lot of artistic license taken. In fact it’ll be spinning wildly out of control, tumbling first, as the fine attitude control thrusters are overwhelmed/run out of propellant. This failure of pointing will of course be what leads to the loss of signal and not the (subsequent, inevitable) violent destruction. Unfortunately the sweep rate will probably be too high to pick up random subsequent data but maybe they will get a burst or two of momentary carrier?
  29. petee

    petee i'm spartacus

    direct link:
    | NASA
    there's commentary on the public channel, and a bare feed of the control room on the media channel
    editor and Indeliblelink like this.
  30. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    If this world had any sense of priorities, Cassini would be front page news everywhere.

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