Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: May 24, 2010 Archive

Moons of Saturn Monday

Posted at 6:00 AM on May 24, 2010 by Dale Connelly (32 Comments)
Filed under: Science

Thanks to the 1,800 + people who stopped by our MPR offices in St. Paul, Rochester and Bemidji yesterday to be part of the Member Appreciation Open House. It was a pleasure to see so many familiar faces, and quite a few new ones as well. I spent the afternoon in our main Radio Heartland studio showing visitors how incredibly easy it is to be a disc jockey. Not only were mere children able to learn the job quickly - several of them became restless and strangely anxious - looking around the room for more challenging work.

Parents, you can thank me later when your brilliant child chooses to become a doctor or a space scientist.

Speaking of space, it's Monday, so there must be more Moons of Saturn on display.

Yesterday I spied yet another striking shot from the tireless Cassini spacecraft, still hard at work 12 and a half years after its launch.

You can click on the photo to see a larger version.

saturns moons.jpg

Two weeks ago we had a look at the moons Pandora and Epimetheus seeming to race around the rings. Saturn has 62 known moons. Imagine if you were with your Saturnian sweetheart, gazing into the nighttime sky. Would it be romantic, or more like watching NASCAR or a parade of dirty icy chunks? You'd need a scorecard. Words of love might have to wait.

Now we see another visual trick where the moon Rhea appears to sit on top of a very tiny Epimetheus. In fact, Rhea is bigger, 949 miles across compare to a mere 70 for Epimetheus. But the difference is exaggerated in this shot by Rhea's being much closer to the Cassini camera.

The eye catching thing about this shot (for me) is how completely fake it looks - the sort of thing I doodled on the back of my notebook in Mr. Tindall's American History class in 7th grade. If I wasn't drawing moons of Saturn, I was doodling superheroes or cars, especially as spring turned into summer outside our classroom window.

What did you do at your desk when you were supposed to be paying attention?

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