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Cassini Captures Saturn's Northern Lights

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the cassini-rules dept.

Space 33

al0ha writes "In the first video showing the auroras above the northern latitudes of Saturn, Cassini has spotted the tallest known 'northern lights' in the solar system, flickering in shape and brightness high above the ringed planet. The new video reveals changes in Saturn's aurora every few minutes, in high resolution, with three dimensions. The images show a previously unseen vertical profile to the auroras, which ripple in the video like tall curtains. These curtains reach more than 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) above the edge of the planet's northern hemisphere."

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Captured?? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30251152)

Is Cassini a terrorist holding Saturn's northern light as a hostage?

my god (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251156)

it's full of stars...

Sheeeeeet (0, Offtopic)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251486)

OLD DIGG submission, what has this site become?
Diggers??? seems like it.

Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,Tshirts,ect... (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,Tshirts,ect... (1, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251470)

Let's DDoS that fucker. Grab the Low Orbit Ion Cannon from bittorent and set it to kill. Who's with me?

Re:Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,Tshirts,ect... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252402)

How do you know that wasn't the poster's point? Best to igore -1 Offtopic posts, IMHO.

Re:Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,Tshirts,ect... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252006)

DDos attack underway.

Re:Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,Tshirts,ect... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252052)

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Re:Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,Tshirts,ect... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252504)

Spamming on Slashdot is like robbing the donut shop next to the police station.

Wow... (2)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251308)

Sounds interesting. I'm going to have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30255172)

Don't bother since it's obviously faked; Cassini died in 1712.

Interesting, but not surprising (5, Informative)

tommy_teardrop (228273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251388)

ISS videos of the visible aurora have been doing the rounds internally at Cassini for a few months now, and they really are spectacular, but a height of 1200km is hardly a surprise new value, given that it falls in the exact range expected when compared with observations of the UV aurora made by the Hubble Space Telescope:

Altitude of Saturn's aurora and its implications for the characteristic energy of precipitated electrons [harvard.edu]

Re:Interesting, but not surprising (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253346)

Altitude of Saturn's aurora and its implications for the characteristic energy of precipitated electrons

That’s the first time I looked at the title of something and went: tl;dr. ^^

Who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30251412)

I don't. Why should you? With over one zillion people jobless worldwide, this news is a distraction dreamed up by Bill O'Reilly. It is a distraction from the worship of our supreme leader and mullah Barack Hussein Obama.

IF YOU LOVE IT SET IT FREE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30251432)

Catch and release is my moto !!

Re:IF YOU LOVE IT SET IT FREE !! (1)

Gruff1002 (717818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252064)

Lets terraform it, or one of its moons.

*BSD is Dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30251524)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

You are a fuckwit. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253018)

Should have posted this in the FreeBSD 8.0 release story, dumbfuck

Even as a troll, you're doing it wrong.

Colors? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251820)

In the movie, Saturn and stars are shown in black-and-white, but the aurora is shown in just orange. This is odd. My speculation is that one filter (frequency) was used for Saturn and the stars and a second filter (displayed as orange) was used for the aurora. There appears to be no overlap between the light collected among the filters. This is also odd. Usually at least some sources show up across the spectrum, and would thus appear in both filters (colors). If the alignment was off, there would be no visual cues of misalignment when there's no sharing.

Re:Colors? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253932)

Mt theory is that you didn't RTFA. It states in quite clearly that the movie has been processed to remove noise (cosmic rays, lens flares etc.) and the aurora has been colored to differentiate it from the background. It also states that the true color of the aurora is not known.

Re:Colors? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256384)

TFA: "The images were captured in black and white, but the aurora in this movie is shown in a false orange color to distinguish it from background noise in the images...These images were taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft's narrow-angle camera..."

That doesn't necessarily mean they manually painted it orange. I don't see anything that rules out 2 filters. Both filters could still be in the "visible light" range. Saying "captured in black-and-white" tends to support your viewpoint, but doesn't mean much technically, as almost all filter-based imaging systems use a linear gray scale for each channel. If the article said, "single filter", "single channel", or "single wavelength", then it would be an open-and-shut case. Annotations on Mars rover images often list the frequencies of the filters used. I'll agree your interpretation is the most probable one though.
   

Re:Colors? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256618)

(Continued) Another thing that bugs me is why they would tint it if it's not based on a 2nd filter. It shows up plenty fine by itself in the movie. I can see tinting it for the stills, but in the movie it stands out enough. Maybe they thought some would get confused by the moving star field. It may be "safer" to use fading arrows to point out the aurora rather than tint. Tinting risks the accusation that they are "playing with colors", which has popped up on other missions. Arrows avoid that accusation all-together. Okay, enough about colors already.

Brought a tear to my eye (3, Interesting)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251826)

Amazing. Maybe I only find it so emotional because I've recently watched the posthumous autotune of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. Check it here [youtube.com] if you haven't seen it. And here's the relevant quote:

"How lucky we are to live in this time. The first moment in human history. When we are, in fact visiting other worlds."

Re:Brought a tear to my eye (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252344)

"How lucky we are to live in this time. The first moment in human history. When we are, in fact visiting other worlds."

Well, at least our cameras are.

"We" are still stuck on Earth (no, ISS doesn't count).

Re:Brought a tear to my eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252738)

Ya, the moon isn't a foreign body... Err...

Re:Brought a tear to my eye (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253318)

You speak as if we have been to the moon in my lifetime...

Re:Brought a tear to my eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252512)

Just think what we humans could achieve if we weren't so caught up on trying to kill each other for the most stupid reasons.

Re:Brought a tear to my eye (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252516)

Carl Sagan's Cosmos..."How lucky we are to live in this time. The first moment in human history. When we are, in fact visiting other worlds."

He conveniently didn't mention the "Yankee Go Home" signs [myspaceantics.com] .

Sativa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253216)

Tallest known "northern lights" = Tallest pot plant

Video on Youtube (1)

jlp2097 (223651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253396)

I'm not going to install quicktime just to watch the video. So here's the youtube link: linky [youtube.com]

Cool, but there's cooler from Cassini (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253910)

Cassini just did another flyby of Enceladus a week ago and got some amazing pictures of the ice plumes/geysers [nasa.gov] found there.

Gas giant? (1)

azav (469988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254576)

This shows that Saturn has a magnetic field and magnetic poles. I think this directly implies that the gas giant has a solid or molten iron core.

Time to shoot some radar off that beast and find out where the surface is.

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