SolarPlanetary LtE Now for CMO/ISMO #34 (CMO #408)  

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 LtE#407

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¤·····Subject: RE: CMO #407 uploaded

Received; 28 February 2013 at 19:34 JST

 

Thank you for forwarding this report to me; most fascinating.


Kind Regards,


Alan CLITHEROW (SPA, the UK)

 

 

¤·····Subject: your mars essay

Received; 28 February 2013 at 07:08 JST

 

Dear Masatsugu,

 

   I am glad that my rather hastily prepared and premature essays, gNight Thoughts on a Classical Mars Observer,h led to such a thoughtful and insightful response from you.  I think your points are well made—and it was a pleasure to see such a succinct reprise of the history of quantum mechanics.  I havenft studied the mathematical formalism of it since I was an undergrad in physics almost four decades ago.  (And I note that this year is the centennial anniversary of the Bohr atom!)

 

   I can only briefly respond your comments, but it seems to me the important points, which have rarely been considered in this context, include:

 1) the fact that we must carefully define what is meant by a classical Mars observer, that this refers to something more rigorously defined than just the old visual telescopic methods and the search for non-existent details;

2) a planned program of observations, with specific research projects in mind, in which the Earthbased observations complement those of the spacecraft needs to be laid out beforehand and carefully brought to fulfillment by trained and experienced observers. 

   This is, I would add, from what has typically been the method of amateur observers who have often just thrown together lots of disparate and somewhat random observations by many inexperienced observers. 

 

   ***I especially approve of your last paragraph, about the human brain having no ability to describe anything that is very unfamiliar.  The human eye is a so-so astronomical instrument (detector), and the brain was developed through natural selection for the specific purpose of achieving tasks needed for survival, searching for and finding food, mating, fleeing predators.  It was not devised for the purpose of analyzing telescopic images of remote planets and when applied to such a remote-from-everyday-life purpose, it is bound to be easily led astray.  One sees some of these aspects in which the eye-brain-hand system, evolved for other purposes, falls into various default modes in the history of the canals of Mars, as you suggest.  So even in quantum mechanics, for instance, we still end up most of the time struggling with a description that is gnon-classicalh and goes against gcommonsense.h

 

   Another value of Earthbased observations is related to the sheer volume of information that we are being asked to process from the spacecraft on Mars (or those exploring other planets, like Cassini at Saturn).  It is impossible for anyone to keep abreast of all the details, and many specialists are involved in analyzing such data from the viewpoint of their special fields.  Thus George Rieke, University of Arizona infrared astronomer, who helped to design the Spitzer space telescope, noted:

 

   gThe various fields of space science—space physics, space biology, microgravity, astronomy, planetary studies—touch on nearly the entire range of science.  Successful researchers need a high degree of focus and specialization.  Few have any understanding or appreciation of the activities, aspirations, and potential scientific importance of fields far from their own.  That is, the space ecommunityf is Balkanized into groups without a common language.h

 

   That this is so there can be no doubt; perhaps the gclassicalh Mars observer you describe is indispensable to our capturing the gBig Pictureh in an age of increasing fragmentation (quantization?).

   I hope you will continue to instruct us in to how we can formulate a gplanned program of observations in which the Earthbased observations complement those of the spacecraft,h but your essay is a very important start on refining an approach to what is really a key problem.

 

   I hope that I may infer from the depth of thinking—and the length of this essay—that you have had some upsurge from the more incapacitating aspects of your health problems.

 

   Let us hear from other members of CMO/ISMO their views as to these intriguing questions.

 

   Best, Bill

 

Bill SHEEHAN  (Willmar, MN)

 

 

¤·····Subject: The Moon 2013 February 19

Received; 28 February 2013 at 05:34 JST

 

 

I went a bit mad with imaging the Moon on this night, doing it with three different cameras and telescopes. So I did my usual whole Moon with the 80mm refractor, but I also made this redundant by taking a much larger whole Moon image with the 100mm f9 which is mounted with my C-14, in IR with DMK41 camera at 15fps. This can be zoomed in to examine parts of it in detail; it won't fit on a monitor at full size. It has been so successful I will certainly use this combination again. Finally I imaged Copernicus with C-14, Flea 3 and 3x Barlow, the same arrangement as I use for Jupiter.

 

With the very large image scale for Copernicus, one fact, or maybe opinion, that comes into my mind is that when attempting very high resolution imaging of lunar features on the terminator, and processing using stacking software and wavelet sharpening, you very easily hit the diffraction limit of the telescope, because the contrasts are so great, in a way you don't when imaging Jupiter or Saturn with the same telescope (but you do when imaging double stars). You can see this looking at the central peak of Copernicus, standing out as a star-like point: it has a diffraction ring around it. The appearance of other features in this image is also influenced by edge diffraction, and this is a thing you regularly see in similar images.

 



Also posted here.

 

 

 David ARDITTI  (Middlesex, the UK)

http://www.staglaneobservatory.co.uk

HA8 5LW

 

 

¤·····Subject: vzv03210@nifty.com has shared:

Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) – a possible collision with Mars

Received; 27 February 2013 at 07:17 JST

 

Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) – a possible collision with Mars

 

http://spaceobs.org/en/2013/02/25/comet-c2013-a1-siding-spring-a-possible-collision-with-mars/# 

 

L. Elenin There is a chance that the comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring), discovered in the beginning of 2013, might collide with Mars. At the moment, based on the observation arc of 74 days, the nominal close approach distance between the red planet and the comet might be as little as 0.00073 AU, that is approximately 109,200 km! Distance to Marsf natural satellite Deimos, will be smaller by 6000 km, making it 103,000 km. On the 19th October 2014, the comet might reach apparent magnitude of -8c-8.5, as seen from Mars! ... ...

 

 

¤·····Subject: Solar images 18th / 19th-Feb-2013

Received; 26 February 2013 at 07:56 JST

 

 

Hi Guys here are few solar images,  showing  the progress of a spectacular filament over 5 days, and a couple of active regions . The wide shot is double stack and the rest single stack 90mm Coronado.

                

 


 


 


 


Best wishes

 

Dave TYLER (Bucks, the UK)

 www.david-tyler.com
Ham call G4PIE

 

 

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: The Moon 2013 January 25

Received; 24 February 2013 at 09:52 JST

 

Here's today's Moon portrait. 12.8 days, Schickard and Hevelius near the terminator. Some higher-res shots coming soon.

 

Also posted here.

 

 

David ARDITTI  (Middlesex, the UK)

http://www.staglaneobservatory.co.uk

HA8 5LW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: RE: CMO/ISMO 406/32 uploaded

Received; 23 February 2013 at 15:45 JST

 

Hello Masami Murakami:

Thank you for sending me this issue of CMO.  

I am currently working on a paper that describes the North Polar Cap of Mars.  

Your publication is very useful.

Sincerely,


Richard SCHMUDE, Jr.  (GA, the USA)

 

 

¤·····Subject: The Moon 2013 January 22

Received; 23 February 2013 at 07:58 JST

 

Here's another in my series of whole Moon portraits (or visible part of the Moon anyway) assembled from SkyNYX webcam images through 80mm f7.5. This is the Moon aged 10.1 days, the phase that gives the "sword-handle" view (as it was called in Patrick Moore's books) of the mountains bordering the Sinus Iridium projecting from the terminator.

 

Also at posted here.

 

David ARDITTI  (Middlesex, the UK)

http://www.staglaneobservatory.co.uk

HA8 5LW

 

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: Solar images 17-Feb-2013

Received; 22 February 2013 at 02:10 JST

 

Hi Guys yet another sunny day ! I have 18ths and 19ths to process yet too! The big filament is still spectacular.

 



 

Best wishes

 

Dave TYLER (Bucks, the UK)

 www.david-tyler.com
Ham call G4PIE

 

 

¤·····Subject: Jupiter 2013.02.19

Received; 21 February 2013 at 08:00 JST

 

Dears,

 

Under windy and average seeing conditions, but nonetheless two interesting events to see with on CM WSA and WSZ encounter (with a bright streak of one of them passing south of the other), and a bright eruption between NEBs and EZs:




 

 


 

 

IR gets the most resolved: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130219i-20h38.0UT-MDe.jpg


RVB with low details: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130219-20h49.2UT-MDe.jpg

CH4: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130219c-21h04.9UT-MDe.jpg

R: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130219r-20h48.3UT-MDe?jpg

G: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130219g-20h49.2UT-MDe.jpg

B: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130219b-20h50.1UT-MDe.jpg

L: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130219l-20h51.0UT-MDe.jpg

Sincerely,

Marc DELCROIX (Tournefeuille, FRANCE)

http://astrosurf.com/delcroix

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: Jupiter Images 18-Feb-2012

Received; 21 February 2013 at 01:53 JST

 

Hi Guys here are a few Jupiter images from the 18th with Io in transit, BA near the meridian and the GRS just coming onto the disc.

 


 

Best wishes

 

Dave TYLER (Bucks, the UK)

 www.david-tyler.com
Ham call G4PIE

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: RE: Re: A bit of help for the #CMO 407

Received; 19 February 2013 at 06:02 JST

 

 

Dear Reiichi,

 

Many thanks for the inputs. I'm not making a full answer because I am currently completely busy but I'm making a reference to your opinion in the note (your answer does not currently appear in LtE, it could be a good idea, Masami please ?).

 

Masatsugu, the text is complete and only remain the figures; I must get it all done on 20th feb by the end of the day, so you would find it in your e-mails on the morning of the 21th !

 

Best wishes,

 

Christophe PELLIER (Nantes, FRANCE)

 

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: Re: A bit of help for the #CMO 407

Received; 14 February 2013 at 01:38 JST

 

Dear Christophe,

I am looking forward to reading (and translating for Japanese readers) your coming note!
For the reason of the absence of the trailing effect over Elysium Mons you have mentioned, I believe that the gElysium trailing cloudshare just too small to be observable from our Earth-based stations.


I have saved all the downloadable images by the Mars-orbiting satellites to review the Martian volcanoes in every season ( I am an areovolcanoholic, as you know). And as far as could be checked through the MRO MARCI Weekly Weather Reports, it seems that every larger volcano on Mars shows orographic trailing clouds in some seasons. Attached are some MRO MARCI images showing the possiblegtrailing effectshover the Elysium volcanoes
G

 


 

The 2011 ones were  about a month after the seasonal first emergence of the orography over the area, and the 2012 ones were within a month before the ceasing of the orographic cloud activity over the Elysium rise\available amount of water vapor during either period was not so abundant. In the season with enough amount of water vapor, in the local late afternoon, the cloud over the small Elysium rise (of course compared to the gigantic Tharsis bulge!) might develop to be dense and widespread to obscure individual volcanoes' subtler matters.

 



Finding trailing Elysium clouds in the CMO Mars Gallery may be extremely hard
Galso attached Don Parker's superb images on 14 March 2012 seems to show some nice-directioned (SE to NW) elongation, but quite uncertain (still too early in the local afternoon?).

 



    Best Wishes,


 

 Reiichi KONNAÏ (Fukushima, JAPAN)

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: Jupiter and Io 2013.02.16

Received; 18 February 2013 at 14:31 JST

 

Dears,

After 4 months without observing, for various reasons -health, bad weather, work ... - here is at last some Jupiter images from me, far from opposition. As usual after a long time without problems, start was a bit difficult (unplugged cables in my eq. table, out of order battery, ...). I hence imaged late, with Jupiter only 45 high, but after all I am satisfied with the results for this new start:

 




RGB: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130216-21h34.5UT-MDe.jpg

 

 




Infrared, with Io : http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130216i-21h16.0UT-MDe.jpg

Méthane, very noisy and not much detail: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130216c-21h48.9UT-MDe.jpg

R: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130216r-21h34.9UT-MDe.jpg

V: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130216g-21h33.8UT-MDe.jpg

B: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130216b-21h34.9UT-MDe.jpg

L: http://astrosurf.com/delcroix/images/planches/j20130216l-21h34.7UT-MDe.jpg

Sincerely,

 

Marc DELCROIX (Tournefeuille, FRANCE)

http://astrosurf.com/delcroix

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: Solar Images 15-Feb-2013

Received; 18 February 2013 at 02:25 JST

 

Hi Guys here are  few of the most outstanding features on the 15th.

 


 

The 11:37 image show progress of the awesome large filament .

 


 


 

The 11:31 image , I have seen this type of prom before, they are visually dense and as bright as the surface, enabling the capture of both on the same settings. 

 

 

 


 

Best wishes

 

Dave TYLER (Bucks, the UK)

 www.david-tyler.com
Ham call G4PIE

 

 

¤·····Subject: Jupiter Images 16 Feb-2013

Received; 17 February 2013 at 19:22 JST

 

Hi Guys     Would you believe it, solar Imaging and Jupiter imaging on the same day!! AND reasonable seeing !!!!   

 

Here are the Jups

 


 

Best wishes

 

Dave TYLER (Bucks, the UK)

 www.david-tyler.com
Ham call G4PIE

 

 

 ¤·····Subject: Solar Images 14-Feb-2013

Received; 15 February 2013 at 19:56 JST

 

Hi Guys The sun at last !!  I managed to grab a couple of images before cloud domination. Seeing was quite good for the 26deg alt.

 

 

 The twisted loop prom was on 80 inch efl, 5 inch AP Apo + single stack 90mm Coronado with BF15.

 


 

 

The Limb straddling prom was at the prime focus of my Coronado DS 90 Scope . Flea 3 CCD mono 1/4inch.  Regi 6 MAP 

 


Best wishes

 

Dave TYLER (Bucks, the UK)

 www.david-tyler.com
Ham call G4PIE

 

 

       

¤·····Subject: Re: SAHEKI's observations of Tithonius L

Received; 11 February 2013 at 03:32 JST

 

Dear Masatsugu,
   Interesting about Saheki--I am glad you are writing him up.  I do remember Akinori Nishita very well.
   I will see about an essay for CMO#408, but unfortunately, Springer is bringing the hammer down on me to finish a Galaxies book, and so I have pledged no distractions till I have it done.
   With best wishes, Bill

---------------------------------------

On 11/11/13 6:59 PM, "Masami MURAKAMI" <cmo@mars.dti.ne.jp> wrote:
 

Dear Bill,
  How are you going well?  Thank you again for your second part of your Night Thoughts.

  By the way I just inform you that the written data of SAHEKI's observations of Tithonius L on 9 December 1951 (JST) proved correct according to the recent result derived by Akinori NISHITA (whom you met in 2004):
  9 December 1951 at 06:00 JST implies 8 December 1951 21:00 GMT, and NISHITA's results show at 21:00 on 8 Dec 1951 that
 Longitude of CM=36.7 degrees W, and Disk diameter=5.3"
 
 It is apparently possible to catch Tithonius L on the rhs of the disk when the LCM=36.7 degrees. And so de VAUCOULEURS was wrong. As to the angular diameter, Reiichi KONNAI is of the opinion that 5" is enough to check the glint if the seeing is good. Really in 2012 he finished the season when the angular diameter was just around 5".
 
 I am going to write an opening essay for CMO #407, by alluding to your night thoughts. However we have no idea concerning the articles in #408, and so we hope you can afford to write something willingly for the opening essay of the CMO.
 
 With best wishes,
  Masatsugu 

---------------------------------------

 

Bill SHEEHAN  (Willmar, MN)

 

 

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: A bit of help for the #CMO 407

Received; 10 February 2013 at 21:51 JST

 

Dear Masatsugu and Reiichi,

As I told to Masatsugu I'm going to write a short note for the next CMO (and should not for the again next one due to other commitments), and it will be a review of the trend of the Elysium cloud, similar to that of the Tharsis ones.

I'm facing a problem of analysis however : looking closely at images, it is evident that the "trailing effect" so prominent over Tharsis, is completely absent over Elysium, and the cloud looks to stay roundish even at late afternoon hours.

Do you have informations to explain this ? 

The Elysium cloud is a bit higher in latitude than Olympus, so maybe the afternoon cell is not active, but the difference in latitude is weak. Maybe some local circulation of winds, but this could be hard to explain...

Best wishes

 

Christophe PELLIER (Nantes, FRANCE)

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: Re: A fascinating shot from an angle impossible

Received; 10 February 2013 at 21:43 JST

 

 

Thank you Reiichi ! In the MGS studies (Wang et al.) they say that fall begins in the northern hemisphere by great spiral storms above the NPR. Although the season is a bit later here, the storm should still be active. However, the colour aspect of the photo does not help to discriminate dust and water vapour, as the latter component should already be important in this season.
The links show very well the development of the NPH...
In a way or another, maybe later or not, perhaps we could write a review of this for the CMO ?
Best wishes

 

Christophe PELLIER (Nantes, FRANCE)

 

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: FW: Some Mars examples

Received; 9 February 2013 at 05:50 JST

 

 

Dear fellow Martians,

   I have just resumed contact with Leo Aerts, an old friend who is now retired after many years and is devoting himself to astronomy which has always been his passion.

   I commend to you his recent CCD work.  Note especially the first one, where on a disk of only 11h.5 many gcanalih appear (he is right to use this term, since the markings look much more like those on Schiaparellifs 1878 map than the spiderwebs of Lowell.  This illustrates the paradox, known since Schiaparellifs time, that the visibility of the canals is not merely a function of distance.

  The others show very nice comparisons between images and drawings by Antoniadi and Dollfus.

   Best, Bill

----------------------------------------------------------- 

From: Aerts Leo [mailto:aerts.leo@skynet.be]
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 11:12 AM
To: Sheehan, William P (DHS)
Subject: Some Mars examples

 

Hello Bill,

Only 3 examples on Mars.  As already mentioned in my previous email I can forward you the most interesting results from the past 3 apparitions if you are interested.

 

Mars March 7th 2010.  The apparent disc was only 11h5 but showed in good seeing conditions many gcanalih.  It was the first time that they were so prominent to see.  I used my 25 cm f/15 planetary Schmidt Cassegrain (obstruction 25%).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars at October 11th 2005.  The apparent disc was a gbig 19h.  I also used the 25 cm f/15 Schmidt Cassegrain telescope.  I was amused to compare it with a wonderful Antoniadi drawing of 1909.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars at the recent apparition : February 27th 2012 at 2h59 UT.  The apparent disc was 13h8.  I used my C14 at good seeing conditions and compared it with a Dollfus drawing of April 10th 1982.

 I Photo shopped my result in such a way that it came out as a black and white result, resembling a drawing.  It seemed to a good idea to compare it with the Dollfus visual result. 

 

 Note : of course it must have been great and much, much more rewarding to observe those minute Mars details by eye.

Kind regards.

Leo

----------------------------------------------------------- 

Bill SHEEHAN  (Willmar, MN)

 

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: A fascinating shot from an angle impossible

Received; 8 February 2013 at 23:17 JST

 

Dear Dr. Minami, Christophe, all,

Attached here is an image by ESA's MEX VMC on 30 Sep. 2012 from an angle we can never get from our planet showing great spiraling dust/cloud streaks over NPR. The most conspicuous arm of the spiral seems to be originated in Hyperboreus Lacus, entered NPC through Chasma Boreale, then veered south to across Baltia and north-western Acidalium, all the way to Nilokeras;the area has often shown distinctive greenish tint in some seasons.
You can access to many more fantastic recent VMC images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/esa_marswebcam/sets/
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2012/12190600-mars-express-vmc.html

Best Regards,

 

 Reiichi KONNAÏ (Fukushima, JAPAN)

 

 

 

 

¤·····Subject: DEATH BY SUICIDE FOR MONSTER SATURN STORM .. FROM CASSINI

Received; 1 February 2013 at 03:24 JST

 

 

January 31, 2013
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Remember that monster storm that Cassini sighted in December 2010 erupting within the northern mid-latitudes of Saturn that, by the end of January 2011, had entirely wrapped itself around the planet, blown about by the planet's jet streams?

Well, a new paper published online in the journal Icarus by two teams on Cassini -- the Imaging Team and the team that studies the radiation produced by lightning -- reveals new details in the development and death of this colossus.

Go to E

http://www.ciclops.org/view_media/37174/Chronicling_Saturns_Northern_Storm
... to see the month-by-month development of this colossus, and to ....
http://ciclops.org/view_event/188/

... to see the latest published results.

Also, be sure to read the news release, attached below, that went out a moment ago. The luxury of prolonged observation and study of a phenomenon of this magnitude is what a mission like Cassini, in orbit around Saturn now for over 8 years, allows. We live in interesting times.

Enjoy!

Carolyn Porco
Cassini Imaging Team Leader
Director, CICLOPS
Boulder, CO
http://ciclops.org
http://twitter.com/carolynporco
http://www.facebook.com/carolynporco

PS. To unsubscribe from this list, go to the right hand column of the CICLOPS home page ( http://ciclops.org ) and find and click the [Unsubscribe] link

=====================================================================

 

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
CASSINI IMAGING CENTRAL LABORATORY FOR OPERATIONS (CICLOPS)
SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE, BOULDER, COLORADO
http://ciclops.org
media@ciclops.org

Steve Mullins 720-974-5859
Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
media@ciclops.org

Jia-Rui C. Cook 818-354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif.
jccook@jpl.nasa.gov

IMAGE ADVISORY: January 31, 2013

NASA'S CASSINI WATCHES STORM CHOKE ON ITS OWN TAIL

Call it a Saturnian version of the Ouroboros, the mythical serpent that bites its own tail. In a new paper that provides the most detail yet on the life and death of a monstrous thunder-and-lightning storm on Saturn, scientists from NASA's Cassini mission describe how the storm churned around the planet until it encountered its own tail and sputtered out. It is the first time scientists have observed a storm consume itself like this anywhere in the solar system.

"This Saturn storm behaved like a terrestrial hurricane - but with a twist unique to Saturn," said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member based at the California Institute of Technology who is a co-author on the new paper in the journal Icarus. "Even the giant storms at Jupiter don't consume themselves like this, which goes to show that nature can play many awe-inspiring variations on a theme and surprise us again and again."

Earth's hurricanes feed off the energy of warm water and leave a coldwater wake. This storm in Saturn's northern hemisphere also feasted off warm "air" in the gas giant's atmosphere. The storm, first detected on Dec. 5, 2010, and tracked by Cassini's radio and plasma wave subsystem and imaging cameras, erupted around 33 degrees north latitude. Shortly after the bright, turbulent head of the storm emerged and started moving west, the storm spawned a clockwise-spinning vortex that drifted much more slowly. Within months, the storm wrapped around the planet at that latitude, stretching about
190,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) in circumference, thundering and throwing lightning along the way.

Terrestrial storms have never run into their own wakes - they encounter topographic features like mountains first and expend themselves. But Saturn has no land to stop its hurricanes. The bright turbulent storm head was able to chomp all the way around the planet. It was only when the head of the storm ran into the vortex in June 2011 that the massive, convective storm faded away. Why the encounter would shut down the storm is still a mystery.

By Aug. 28, after 267 days, the Saturn storm stopped thundering for good. While some lingering effects in higher layers of Saturn's atmosphere continue to be tracked by Cassini's infrared detectors, the troposphere -- which is the weather - producing layer, lower in the atmosphere - has been quiet at that latitude.

"This thunder-and-lightning storm on Saturn was a beast," said Kunio Sayanagi, the paper's lead author and a Cassini imaging team associate at
Hampton University in Virginia. "The storm maintained its intensity for an unusually long time. The storm head itself thrashed for 201 days and its updraft erupted with an intensity that would have sucked out the entire volume of Earth's atmosphere in 150 days. And it also created the largest vortex ever observed in the troposphere of Saturn, expanding up to 7,500 miles [12,000 kilometers] across."

The vortex grew to be as large as the giant storm known as Oval BA on Jupiter. But Oval BA and Jupiter's more famous storm - the Great Red Spot - are not thunder-and-lightning storms. Jupiter's storms also have a quiet center, unlike the violence at the center of Saturn's storms.

"Cassini's stay in the Saturn system has enabled us to marvel at the power of this storm," said Scott Edgington, Cassini's deputy project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
Pasadena, Calif. "We had front-row seats to a wonderful adventure movie and got to watch the whole plot from start to finish. These kinds of data help scientists compare weather patterns around our solar system and learn what sustains and extinguishes them."

This storm was the longest running of the massive storms that appear to break out in Saturn's northern hemisphere once every Saturn year (30 Earth years). The longest storm of any size ever detected on Saturn actually unfolded over 334 days in
2009 in an area known as "Storm Alley" in the southern hemisphere, but it was about 100 times smaller in
area than the latest northern storm.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the
U.S., England, France and Germany. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information, visit: http://ciclops.org,
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini.

-end- 

 

Carolyn PORCO  (Boulder, CO)

 


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