Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

OMG! Aurora!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

12-10-2009 22:43 CDT

Topics:

This is SO cool. Unmannedspaceflight.com member Astro0 was fiddling around with an interesting-looking sequence of Cassini images when he discovered their purpose -- they were gathered in order to see if Cassini could catch aurorae flaring into being near Saturn's north pole. Cassini sure did! The animation is absolutely incredible. I've just posted a brief excerpt below to give you a bit of the flavor; download the full version to be mesmerized by spinning Saturn, streaking stars, and sudden auroral flares that rotate as they fade, floating above the visible edge of Saturn's disk.

Saturn's rotating aurora (excerpt)

NASA / JPL / SSI / animation by Astro0, unmannedspaceflight.com

Saturn's rotating aurora (excerpt)
This animation consists of 21 frames captured by Cassini on October 7, 2009, focused near Saturn's north pole on the night side of the planet. Each frame is a long exposure, causing background stars to extend into long streaks. There are other small pointlike image artifacts that do not move from frame to frame (so they are most likely hot pixels or some other sort of thing internal to the instrument). There are also occasional cosmic ray hits that produce one-time streaks that aren't visible in subsequent frames. As Saturn rotates, the aurora flares. This is just an excerpt of a much longer animation that can be downloaded here (9.8 MB).

 
See other posts from October 2009

 

Or read more blog entries about:

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

Orion's forward bay cover jettison

Astronaut’s-Eye View of NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Re-entry
A shift in shadows for Yutu, December 19(?), 2013
Yutu heads south, December 22, 2013
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!