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Space Science

New Ring Around Saturn 38

Posted by michael
from the radiation-may-be-hazardous-to-your-health dept.
The Fun Guy writes "From the New York Times: 'In its first month orbiting Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft has detected a new radiation belt in an unexpected place, its invisible swarm of trapped high-energy particles circling the planet inside the inner edge of Saturn's signature disk of luminous rings.' Cassini has also seen 'a striking glow emanating day and night from the planet's largest moon, Titan.' A moon that shines with unborrowed light!"
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New Ring Around Saturn

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  • Not a ring (Score:3, Informative)

    by MarsDefenseMinister (738128) <dallapieta80@gmail.com> on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:03PM (#9902583) Homepage Journal
    The rings are icy chunks of matter. Radiation is not. Technically, it's not a ring.

    • What does it matter?
      • It matters because a lot of people are not knowlegable about astronomy, but have a lot of curiosity. They rely on little articles they read here and there for their information, including headlines they read on Slashdot. Misinformation doesn't do anyone any good.

        It also matters because astronomy is to a large extent funded by public money. The people paying the bills for mega telescopes and space missions deserve to know the truth about the discoveries that they pay for.
    • Oh really? Where does it say that rings have to be made of matter? It is entirely conceivable that ring can be used as a synonym for belt, particularly in this instance. Sure, radiation belts are typically called "belts" but there's no reason why they can't be called "rings".

      You might as well be a pedant and say that because they're not made of gold and don't have diamonds in them and they don't fit on your finger and they're not solid the things around Saturn aren't rings. Technically they're a loose cong
      • Re:Not a ring (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DustMagnet (453493) on Friday August 06, 2004 @05:14PM (#9903493) Journal
        It is entirely conceivable that ring can be used as a synonym for belt, particularly in this instance. Sure, radiation belts are typically called "belts" but there's no reason why they can't be called "rings".

        There's a very good reason one is call rings and one is called belts. Look at the picture [nytimes.com]. Sure it's possible to have a radiation ring and a rock/ice belt, but that doesn't change the fact that a radiation belt was found.

      • It confuses newbies, that's why. It also confuses non-newbies, because the rings of Saturn always in the past have referred to the icy chunks. Always in the past, radiation toroids have been called belts.

        I may as well be a pendant, you say, but I am in the habit of having people understand what I write because conventions of meaning and usage are followed. Otherwise the situation is thy nacturations are to me! As plurdled abbleblotchits
        on a lurgid bee.

        See?
    • Uhh, a ring is simply a topological structure. That means it is mathematical in nature--a geometrical construction. It has nothing to do with matter or energy each of which may take on such a geometry. Indeed, there is quite a debate in the physical sciences as to what "matter" really is--because at a deep enough level, everything looks like energy events. Whatever "reality" is, it certainly isn't what you tell me it is.
      • See my other response to someone else pointing out the same thing. Rings on Saturn always refer to icy chunks. Radiation is always referred to as a belt.

        Or are you arguing that my coffee cup is a ring? And then could I point out that one of the very least useful of all mathematical branches is topology? (at least for now...)

        • Or are you arguing that my coffee cup is a ring? And then could I point out that one of the very least useful of all mathematical branches is topology? (at least for now...)

          Flaimbait but i'll bite, Who cares if some mathematics a use? Does a painting have a use? Isn't beauty utility enough?

          Simon.

          • Not flamebait. Some have moderated me as such, but nothing was flamebait here.

            Beauty is a terrific justification for something. Topology is beautiful. Usefulness is also a terrific justification for something. Topology isn't very useful.

            The relation is not transitive. That means that it is not logical to claim that I think that beautiful things aren't useful.

            Also, beauty is a different quality than usefulness, but I think you already know that.

  • by pyrrhonist (701154) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:04PM (#9902594)
    There could be a new ring around Uranus.
  • by Fo0eY (546716)

    so, are we just supposed to believe it's a coincedence that not only does saturn have the deathstar for a moon [universetoday.com], now it has another moon that glows in the dark?

    here's hoping my tinfoil hat blocks whatever evil alien radiation Titan's broadcasting

  • We know nothing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by numLocked (801188) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:10PM (#9902676) Homepage Journal
    I think this is one of the most exciting missions NASA has done in a quite some time. Articles like this really remind us that we have no idea what's going on and that there's a whole lot out there we haven't seen. Exploration is something else. I think what NASA really needs is some better marketing so people who aren't paying attention to these types of missions are drawn in. People love exploration - they just don't realize it's going on.
  • Apparently, there are short lived storms that create much more intense lightning than has ever been seen on the third rock.
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Friday August 06, 2004 @05:42PM (#9903768) Journal
    Rarely seeing space because of the thick clouds. The sky lit up for extended periods with lightning. Every so often the clouds clear and what do you see: a f**king gigantic banded sphere dominating the beyond with beautiful stripy rings sweeping from one side of the sky to the other. Then the clouds close again as more hydrocarbons rain down onto the slowly undulating ocean waves. A slimy tentacle emerges from the sea onto the beach...
    • Just try to imagine living on Titan

      Don't forget the asphixiating lack of oxygen and cold so intense it can shatter your eyeballs faster than a blink!

      On the bright side, no one will notice if you fart! Though on the other hand the entire atmosphere *is* one gigantic fart.

      -
    • Then the clouds close again as more hydrocarbons rain down onto the slowly undulating ocean waves. A slimy tentacle emerges from the sea onto the beach...

      You have been eaten by a grue.
  • I, for one, welcome our new Titan overlords.
  • Latest News. (Score:2, Informative)

    by noselasd (594905)
    people interrested in space news should subscribe
    to sci.space.news, Latest report from Cassini;

    Subject: Cassini Update - August 6, 2004
    From: baalke@earthlink.net (Ron)
    Newsgroups: sci.space.news
    Followup-To: sci.space.policy
    Date: 6 Aug 2004 10:59:56 -0700

    Cassini Significant Events
    for 07/30/04 - 08/04/04

    The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired from the Goldstone
    tracking station on Wednesday, August 4. The Cassini spacecraft is in an
    excellent state of health and is operating
  • Accept our new Glowing Moon Overlords!
  • Dammit! (Score:4, Funny)

    by new death barbie (240326) on Friday August 06, 2004 @10:16PM (#9905937)
    The last one off Titan was supposed to turn off the light!

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