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The Planetary Report • June Solstice 2013

Enhanced Vision

On the Cover: Saturn’s magnificent rings constitute one of the most beautiful features in our solar system, and Cassini has revolutionized our understanding of their makeup. Cassini data taken at stellar occultations have revealed that the rings are not clouds of uniformly distributed particles but, instead, have areas—such as the A and B rings—composed of densely packed clumps with nearly empty spaces between them. In this false-color image from 2007, the rings are represented (from left) as C, olive; B, blue and yellow; the Cassini division, olive; and A, blue.
NASA/JPL/University of Colorado


6 Budgetary Whiplash Casey Dreier details our ongoing effort to save planetary science.

8 Lunar Water and Weathering Amanda Hendrix describes new evidence of both.

13 Rewriting the Books Linda Spilker showcases Cassini’s discoveries in Saturn’s rings.

20 Near-Earth Asteroids Bruce Betts introduces the latest Shoemaker NEO Grant recipients.

22 Annual Report to Our Members Dan Geraci shows us the numbers.


2 Snapshots From Space Mariner 10 images get an upgrade.

4 Your Place in Space Bill Nye updates us on the Society’s work.

7 Planetary Radio Special guests and exciting reports from around the world.

7 On What’s happening online?

12 Q&A Why don’t Saturn’s clouds blend?

12 Factinos GRAIL maps the Moon’s “lumpy” gravity.

19 MySky Leonid Meteor Storm, 2001.

21 What’s Up? A planetary trio; time for the Perseids.

Bill Nye and people
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