by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Mar 30, 2017
What appears as a pair of bright dashes at the center of this image is one of the features rings scientists have dubbed "propellers."
This particular propeller, named Bleriot, marks the presence of a body that is much larger than the particles that surround it, yet too small to clear out a complete gap in the rings (like Pan and Daphnis) and become a moon in its own right.
Although the moonlet at the core of the propeller is itself too small to see, the disturbances in the rings caused by its gravity betray its presence.
Cassini scientists have been tracking propeller features like this one for years in order to learn how their orbits change over time. From this, they hope to gain insight into how forming planets migrate in the disks in which they form.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 59 degrees above the ring plane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 9, 2017.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 223,000 miles (359,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 73 degrees. Image scale is 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) per pixel.
For more on Bleriot, see PIA12792.
Atlanta GA (SPX) Mar 29, 2017
Experiments led by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology suggest the particles that cover the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, are "electrically charged." When the wind blows hard enough (approximately 15 mph), Titan's non-silicate granules get kicked up and start to hop in a motion referred to as saltation. As they collide, they become frictionally charged, like a bal ... read more
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