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The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the bring-an-umbrella dept.

Space 75

The Bad Astronomer writes "Astronomers have discovered that the source of water in Saturn's upper atmosphere is none other than the geysers erupting from its moon Enceladus. The geysers spew water into space, most of which is lost. A small amount, though, falls to Saturn... equivalent to only about 7.5 kilos/second over the entire planet (PDF). A typical rainfall on Earth is 42 trillion times heavier."

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Space (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36889742)

Damn, that's cool..

Re:Space (4, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889786)

Could you imagine if Earth's moon was the source of rainfall? What kind of mythology/traditions would we have come up with from that!?

Re:Space (2)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889820)

Even today science would have trouble explaining how rain could originate from the Moon, which doesn't actually have much surface water on it... :p

Re:Space (4, Funny)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889888)

Then your answer is no, you can't imagine what mythology/traditions would have arisen if rain came from the moon?

Re:Space (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889954)

Imagination is a lot harder than knowledge.

Re:Space (5, Funny)

Chemtox (1841312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891044)

Imagination is a lot harder than knowledge.

I would imagine it is.

But I don't know. =/

Re:Space (1)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889958)

No, his answer is that in the age where events like rain were explained by "mythology/tradition", people couldn't possibly have known it if rain originated from the moon.

Re:Space (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891540)

Considering how well our ancient brethren figured out the movements of the stars? I don't see why it would be so hard for them to figure out that if the moon has a big geyser and a couple of days later it rains that the two are related. After all they built great temples aligned to the summer and winter solstices as well as devices like the Antikythera mechanism [wikipedia.org] so I wouldn't say it was outside the realm of possibility.

Re:Space (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890196)

But what if it used to, and it all ended up raining on Earth?

Are you drinking moon water now?

Re:Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890610)

Given how many kidneys that water's been through, it's quite likely that the only moon water you're drinking is Keith Moon Water.

Re:Space (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900334)

There've been 110 billion people on Earth. Average life about 60 years (being generous, really). 2.4e15 person-days. Say they each drank a liter of water a day, so it's the same number of liters filtered through kidneys.

The volume of Lake Superior is 1.2e16 liters.

And that's just Lake Superior. The volume of water on the whole planet is 1.3e21 liters.

Next time someone says "you're wasting water," tell them they're a sucker for factoids.

Re:Space (2)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890042)

The Greeks would have some weird story of how Luna/Selene "cries" or something, and Egyptians would have one of their animal-head-on-human-body dudes pouring water from the sky.

As for the Judeo-Christian stuff... Well, I can't be sure, but I can tell you that it would be the cause of killing people.

Re:Space (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890128)

This may be a shock to you, but there is nothing in Judeo-Christian beliefs to even suggest that they would kill over rain coming from the moon.
Yes, that bias makes your butt look big.

Re:Space (2)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890392)

You're right -- I was too specific. What I meant to say was: any religious belief had, as some point in time, people killing or dying for it. It's just that I don't think that these days someone would do anything violent in the name of Zeus or Ra. These days people kill and die for entirely different deities. History speaks for itself: just like people kill for what they know exists, they also kill for what they believe exists.

If we had rain falling from the moon, different religions would have different explanations for it. And people who believed in these explanations would, inevitably, kill for them. I'm not even coming at this from an atheistic direction -- just browse human history.

Re:Space (2)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892962)

> These days people kill and die for entirely different deities.

Mostly Mammon, I'd say, with Allah in a distant second place.

Re:Space (1)

ManTaboo (2027174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890372)

When I first read that I spit coffee out of my mouth laughing, then in a split second I realized how sadly true that statement is!

Re:Space (1)

VanGarrett (1269030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891186)

If it were a regular occurrence, then it might be the metaphorical basis of a proverb; in the new testament, it might be compared to the human soul, in the old testament, it might contribute to defining criteria for telling a fool from a wise man. If it were an uncommon occurrence, then it might be a contributing phenomenon to a miracle performed by a prophet, i.e., one of the plagues on Egypt associated with Moses.

Re:Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890716)

In that case, I imagine the moon goddess would be associated with waterbending.

How much is this in superdome volumes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36889806)

Seriously, the Bad Astronomer is a source of mostly bad astronomy and popular "science". Can we start posting the daily APOD here too, with a picture caption and a cute cat in a magician's pointy hat that explains the phenomenon in easy to understand measures?

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889966)

Ok, here's a link to the same story on esa.int [esa.int] . Hopefully now that the source of the same story has changed, it's more to your linking.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890102)

I would not link to it either. I was disappointed as well. I expected a cool story about a constant rain of comets or something.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890526)

Let me get this straight: Your complaint is that the story disappointed you? You got your hopes up, spent an entire 15 seconds to understand what it was about, and then bothered to post a comment complaining that it let you down?

Seriously, I'm not baiting here, but you're just not making any sense. How could anyone possibly gauge what would live up to your personal expectations? I'm a big fan of complaining, it's one of my favorite passtimes, but even I have some notion of when my complaint demands something of someone else that is literally impossible.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890804)

It seems GP was really making an innocent joke about your use of "link" when you obviously meant "like". But you really complain too much.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (2)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892866)

I'm a big fan of complaining, it's one of my favorite passtimes,

"I wish to make a complaint"

"We're closed"

About this here 'passtimes' wot I purchas-ed from this very boutique not one hour ago"

"Oh, the Nowegian passtimes? Very nice passtime. Lovely plumage."

"It's got one 's' too many"

I can't drag it along any further. But it was worth the effort. Perhaps.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890250)

I could tolerate occasional outburst of idiocy from the marketing staff at ESA, but please spoon the constant outpoor of diarrhea from the bad astronomer yourself.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890394)

I could tolerate occasional outburst of idiocy from the marketing staff at ESA, but please spoon the constant outpoor of diarrhea from the bad astronomer yourself.

Then, after you finish up correcting your spelling AND grammar, could you please explain in simple declarative English just what the fuck you are doing posting in this discussion?

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890466)

Well, at least I am not making a grammar Nazi post, Adolf.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (0)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890688)

successful troll is successful! But still a troll.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (5, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890302)

Not to polish and buff your already obvious self importance and ability to scoff at this article, but to someone like myself, who isn't really into the technical aspects or astronomy and the physics behind it - articles such as this one (and many others on that chaps site) a simple layman explanation of something cool that is happening, or freshly discovered is a great source of infotainment.
 
/. isn't purely about having technical papers. You could link me the paper that was obviously published somewhere on this, and I probably wouldn't understand all the technical astrophysics mumbo jumbo in it, nor would I have time to read what was probably a couple dozen pages at the very least.

So, for me, thank you for posting a brief article, from a source that I can read and understand - and most importantly - still think to myself how space and the universe around us is a wonderful thing that always has a wonderful surprise around the next corner waiting to be discovered.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890664)

Not to make fun of you personally, but I'm sure there are other chaps on slashdot that get their layman's knowledge of law from Grisham, their ideas about history from Dan Brown and that of computer security from Mitnick. That neither makes them informed or knowledgeable, nor makes the respective sources respectable.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891442)

It does however make them consumers, and encyclopedic knowledge wouldn't make you any less of a prick.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892046)

It makes them philistines. And it isn't a virtue.

Re:How much is this in superdome volumes? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36906738)

I come here for the comments too, I swear.

Conservation. (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889816)

This needs to be addressed, immediately. If the rain is coming from it's moon, then what will happen to all the whales?

Re:Conservation. (3, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889846)

I believe the Japanese space program can probably help with that.

Re:Conservation. (1)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890258)

I wish I had mod points for that.

Re:Conservation. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890982)

can they also help out with the goddamn hippies and their saturn ring icebreaker ship?

Re:Conservation. (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889852)

I for one would welcome our Jellyfish Overlords!

*salutes*

Re:Conservation. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36889894)

What will happen to all the apostrophes? Like the one you put into a perfectly good possessive pronoun: ITS?

Re:Conservation. (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890134)

Don't worry. Worst case scenario, they send a ship to slingshot around the Sun and bring one back from the 70s.

"Headline" is bullshit double-talk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36889830)

Did /. hire ex NOTW writers? Your headlines are total BS lately.

[How appropriate: captcha is "distort".]

Cultura for the Geeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36889854)

For geeks whose culture don't go beyond warp drives and Homer Simpson the title is an allusion to a popular 1960's musical [wikimedia.org] .

Re:Cultura for the Geeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36889970)

Not every piece of crap spewed out of Hollywood counts as "culture" in better educated circles. In fact, none do.

Re:Cultura for the Geeks (0)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889994)

Self-important prick.

Re:Cultura for the Geeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890060)

Nice to meet you. I am Anonymous Coward.

Re:Cultura for the Geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890038)

Mod parent up.

Re:Cultura for the Geeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890672)

I think you used the term 'better educated circles' where you should have used 'elitist snobs'. There are plenty of 'better educated' people who enjoy movies, etc.

Re:Cultura for the Geeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891080)

"Elitist snobs" and "better educated" don't mean what you think they do.

Re:Cultura for the Geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892578)

It's cute when the people of the United States think that they have any kind of culture.

Re:Cultura for the Geeks (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890700)

Actually, if you'd read the page you link to, you'd find that the musical itself dates back to 1956. The version you refer to was the later film adaptation.

Wait, that title... (3, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#36889908)

[Frederick Lowe orchestral music swells]
Professor Higgins (recitativo): by George she's go it!

Re:Wait, that title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36889948)

Damn! You beat me to it!

Re:Wait, that title... (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890052)

Dash it all! You beat me to it!

There, fixed that for you Col. Pickering.

That math. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890066)

It has to be off. Can someone more enlightened and less lazy than I fix it?

plus 4, T8ol7) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890116)

Clarification of amounts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890176)

I had to go read the article to realize... The 42 trillion conclusion compares the average "rainfall" across the ENTIRE planet of Saturn, versus the amount of rainfall in a single area of steady rain on earth, at the rate of 1 inch per hour.

The average across the planet would be far far less, if we want to compare apples to kumquats.

"The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space" (1)

I'm not evil. See (1135239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890198)

Doesn't really have the right ring to it does it?

Re:"The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890256)

The Watery Saturnian Detritus is Mostly from Enceladus...?

I got nothing.

Re:"The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space" (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890366)

It mostly falls from space. mostly.

Re:"The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space" (1)

I'm not evil. See (1135239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890446)

The rings of Saturn spin mainly in the plane?

Re:"The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space" (1)

I'm not evil. See (1135239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890486)

Oops. That should have been: The rings of Saturn spin mainly in the rain!

Re:"The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space" (2)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891554)

Wait for it, wait for it...

Its saucy limerick time!!!

When it rains on Saturn
Does it fall in a pattern?
Does it water the grass?
Or just dampen your ass?

Lets not forget the classic:

There once was a moon call Enceladus
who with a kind word reminds us
you can spew into space
or spew in her face.

Re:"The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space" (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891894)

Please learn what constitutes a limerick. For a start, you need five lines.

Re:"The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890450)

Saturn's water from Enceladus?
Frankly, I am incredulous.

Plain commentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890444)

Some how I don't think the 'rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane' is equivalent to being 42 trillion times heavier unless philosophically considered

bad math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36890676)

I don't get 7.5 kilos/second, or how this is a measure of "heavy".
And I don't believe that a typical rainfall on earth is 42 trillion times heavier.

Given that 7.5 kg/sec water = 7.5 L/sec water, apparently this means that a "typical rainfall on earth" will cover the surface of the USA (3.7 million square miles) in 1.3 inches of water every second. My math:
http://www.google.com/search?q=42+trillion+*+7.5+L%2Fsec+%2F+3%2C717%2C813+miles^2+in+inches%2Fsec
sorry for the imperial units.

Re:bad math (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890738)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] 505.000 cubic kilometers of water falls on the earth every year.

This translates to 5.05x10^17 liters/year, or 16,013,444,951 liters/second, which is about 2 trillion times more than Venus, rather than 42x.

So... Typo on the part of the Summary?

Re:bad math (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890750)

Not a Typo, found the paragraph in TFA where the author is calculating out the 42 trillion figure. He's starting from different figures, citing the amount of water that falls "During a heavy rainstorm," which is going to be much higher than "Typical rainfall."

Re:bad math (1)

Kentari (1265084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892586)

Not 7.5 kg/s on every square meter of the planet but 7.5 kg/s spread out over the entire planet.

The rain on Saturn falls mainly from space (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890832)

Damn! That doesn't even rhyme... What the hell is the matter with you people?

Kilos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891628)

What are "kilos"? The article never mentions them.

Re:Kilos (1)

Zaatxe (939368) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893244)

What are "kilos"? The article never mentions them.

Wrong forum, kid. You should be asking this on Yahoo Answers.

Say wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891678)

I must be getting old. I had the hugest "who gives a crap" feeling when I read this.

makes sense (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894508)

I guess on a terraforming planet, this would be the start of getting some real self sustaining atmosphere and biological movement.....next step would be single cell organisms appearing, and so on....might be the next earth in a few million years if the moon is able to sustain enough rainfall...

Rainbow moonbeams and orange snow (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902576)

On Saturn, people live to be two hundred and five. Going back to Saturn, where the air is clean....

Anybody know what song this is from?

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