Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cassini Reveals Saturn's Cool Rings

Date:
September 3, 2004
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
The Cassini spacecraft has taken the most detailed temperature measurements to date of Saturn's rings. Data taken by the composite infrared spectrometer instrument on the spacecraft while entering Saturn's orbit show the cool and relatively warm regions of the rings.

The varying temperatures of Saturn's rings are depicted in this false-color image from the Cassini spacecraft. This image represents the most detailed look to date at the temperature of Saturn's rings.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Cassini spacecraft has taken the most detailed temperature measurements to date of Saturn's rings. Data taken by the composite infrared spectrometer instrument on the spacecraft while entering Saturn's orbit show the cool and relatively warm regions of the rings.

This false-color image shows that the temperatures on the unlit side of Saturn's rings vary from a relatively warm 110 Kelvin (-261 degrees Fahrenheit, shown in red), to a cool 70 Kelvin (-333 degrees Fahrenheit, shown in blue). The green represents a temperature of 90 Kelvin (-298 degrees Fahrenheit). Water freezes at 273 Kelvin (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

The data show that the opaque region of the rings, like the outer A ring (on the far right) and the middle B ring, are cooler, while more transparent sections, like the Cassini Division (in red just inside the A ring) or the inner C ring (shown in yellow and red), are warmer. Scientists had predicted this might be the case, because the opaque ring areas would let less light through, and the transparent areas, more. These results also show, for the first time, that individual ringlets in the C ring and the Cassini Division are cooler than the surrounding, more transparent regions.

The temperature data were taken on July 1, 2004, shortly after Saturn orbit insertion. Cassini is so close to the planet that no pictures of the unlit side of the rings are available, hence the temperature data was mapped onto a picture of the lit side of the rings. Saturn is overexposed and pure white in this picture. Saturn’s moon Enceladus is visible below the rings, toward the center.

The composite infrared spectrometer, one of 12 instruments on Cassini, will measure infrared emissions from atmospheres, rings and surfaces. This spectrometer will create vertical profiles of temperature and gas composition for the atmospheres of Titan and Saturn. During Cassini’s four-year tour, the instrument will also gather information on the thermal properties and composition of Saturn’s rings and icy moons.

Cassini-Huygens is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science and Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The Composite Infrared Spectrometer team is based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

For this image and for the latest news about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://www.nasa.gov/cassini. For in-depth mission information, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. For more information on the Composite Infrared Spectrometer, visit http://cirs.gsfc.nasa.gov.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Cassini Reveals Saturn's Cool Rings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040903083724.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2004, September 3). Cassini Reveals Saturn's Cool Rings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040903083724.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Cassini Reveals Saturn's Cool Rings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040903083724.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins