pennyfornasa:

Saturn May Have Produced a New Moon!

Say hello to Peggy! This new possible moon was spotted all clumped up on the outer rings of Saturn. Carl Murray (Queen Mary University, London), the lead author of the research paper recently published in the journal Icarus said, “We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right.” Nobody knows yet what Peggy might be, but one possibility is that it’s an accumulation of ring material that has collapsed gravitationally under its own weight. Some of Saturn’s moons, especially the ones orbiting near the rings, are thought to have formed this way.

It’s always amazing to see the discoveries heralded by astronomers that demonstrate how much we have yet to learn about our own Solar System. It’s why NASA and space exploration is important because we should try and make sense of the Universe and how it came to be. Seeing a possible moon form would be a first for us and it’s happening right in our own backyard! Cassini will try and get a closer look at Peggy in late 2016 when it makes a closer approach

We could continue making discoveries and send more missions out into the Solar System, and even beyond with a Penny4NASA. So what are you waiting for? Take action today by visiting www.penny4nasa.com/take-action

Read more about the discovery of Peggy here: http://www.universetoday.com/111233/is-saturn-making-a-new-moon/

distant-traveller:

Saturn in blue and gold 

Why is Saturn partly blue? The above picture of Saturn approximates what a human would see if hovering close to the giant ringed world. The above picture was taken in 2006 March by the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn. Here Saturn’s majestic rings appear directly only as a thin vertical line. The rings show their complex structure in the dark shadows they create on the image left. Saturn’s fountain moon Enceladus, only about 500 kilometers across, is seen as the bump in the plane of the rings. The northern hemisphere of Saturn can appear partly blue for the same reason that Earth’s skies can appear blue — molecules in the cloudless portions of both planet’s atmospheres are better at scattering blue light than red. When looking deep into Saturn’s clouds, however, the natural gold hue of Saturn’s clouds becomes dominant. It is not known why southern Saturn does not show the same blue hue — one hypothesis holds that clouds are higher there. It is also not known why Saturn’s clouds are colored gold.

Image credit: Cassini Imaging TeamSSIJPLESANASA

(Source: apod.nasa.gov)

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