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PASADENA, Calif. — NASA is releasing the first images and sounds of an electrical connection between Saturn and one of its moons, Enceladus. The data collected by the agency’s Cassini spacecraft enable scientists to improve their understanding of the complex web of interaction between the planet and its numerous moons. The results of the data analysis are published in the journals Nature

Scientists previously theorized an electrical circuit should exist at Saturn. After analyzing data that Cassini collected in 2008, scientists saw a glowing patch of ultraviolet light emissions near Saturn’s north pole that marked the presence of a circuit, even though the moon is 240,000 kilometers (150,000 miles) away from the planet.

The patch occurs at the end of a magnetic field line connecting Saturn and its moon Enceladus. The area, known as an auroral footprint, is the spot where energetic electrons dive into the planet’s atmosphere, following magnetic field lines that arc between the planet’s north and south polar regions.

“The footprint discovery at Saturn is one of the most important fields and particle revelations from Cassini and ultimately may help us understand Saturn’s strange magnetic field,” said Marcia Burton, a Cassini fields and particles scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “It gives us the first visual connection between Saturn and one of its moons.”


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Comments

  1. #1 KeithB
    April 22, 2011

    Velikovsky is vindicated!

  2. #2 space kid
    April 22, 2011

    is it even possible for a planet to be connected to somethin that sounds fake? when I read this blog all i see in every word is lie lie lie. can YOU even PROVE that this is true? well can you?

  3. #3 patrick
    April 22, 2011

    I’ve looked at telescopes at these planets and I’ve never seen that big square thing.

  4. #4 Eric Lund
    April 22, 2011

    No surprises here. Io, which is a major source of plasma in Jupiter’s magnetosphere, has a similar footprint in Jupiter’s auroral region. So do the other Galilean satellites, less strongly because they do not emit as much plasma as Io does. Enceladus is a major plasma source in Saturn’s magnetosphere (this part actually was a surprised when it was announced), so it’s not a stretch to think that it might have such a footprint.

  5. #5 feralboy12
    April 23, 2011

    is it even possible for a planet to be connected to somethin that sounds fake? when I read this blog all i see in every word is lie lie lie. can YOU even PROVE that this is true? well can you?

    Fuckin’ magnetic fields, how do they work?

  6. #6 müzik dinle
    April 23, 2011

    look at the planets could not see anything big

  7. #7 Sarah S
    April 26, 2011

    Saturn is connected electrically to Enceladus

    This was a very interesting post. I’m glad you care enough about the planets to share this with us. I had no idea that the planets had their own moons that is a good thing to know. So now that you know this, does it mean we may have found a new source of solar energy?

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    April 26, 2011

    If you could stick a big antenna up into the upper atmosphere it could draw huge amounts of energy. But it is an engineering impossibility.