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Big storm on Saturn
nprev
post Dec 27 2010, 07:14 PM
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Spectacular!!!

I wonder if that thing is lighting up Saturn's magnetosphere as well...looks like it'd be a major lightning generator.


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ZLD
post Dec 27 2010, 07:20 PM
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Here's my take on the storm. Looks pretty massive. Used MT2, GRN, BL1 filters for color and the CB2 filter for luminance to maintain definition.


Edit: Whoops, I posted the wrong file. Fixed it with the version that doesn't look so crummy in the darks. I'll work on a better version in a bit.
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EDG
post Dec 27 2010, 08:04 PM
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It's interesting to see how "untidy" it is compared to say the GRS on Jupiter. Very nice pictures though.
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Shaka
post Dec 28 2010, 12:13 AM
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Yeah, that was one 'badass' big pigeon!

Next year I'll buy it a present.


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Bjorn Jonsson
post Dec 28 2010, 01:09 AM
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It's interesting to check earlier Cassini images to see if there are any images showing how this new feature formed. I imagine it might have started as a small, bright spot.

Unfortunately there do not seem to be many images of Saturns this month but I found these images from December 5:

http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/raw/rawi...?imageID=230356
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/raw/rawi...?imageID=230355

A small, bright spot appears in both of the images so it is real. It's located at approximately the 'correct' latitude but I don't know if this is the same feature - this could be determined if I knew the subspacecraft longitude.

I'm aware it's very difficult to change observations that were planned months in advance but this is a *really* interesting event. Hopefully there are enough Saturn observations planned for the next rev. I remember some quick changes to Galileo's observations in response to unexpected events, e.g. the loss of the E16 Europa imaging (some of the originally planned E16 observations were incorparated into the E17 observations) but I imagine the Cassini obervation sequences must be far more complex than Galileo's.
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volcanopele
post Dec 28 2010, 01:33 AM
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Yes, that's the same storm, right about the time the RPWS first detected lightning from it.

There are many more Saturn observations during the next orbit, but I have no idea yet on whether they will show the storm, if it is still around.


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ZLD
post Dec 28 2010, 05:33 AM
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Heres a bit clearer version of the storm. False color with stacked images and some noise suppression. Filters, MT2, GRN, BL1, CB2(lum) again.
Attached Image
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antipode
post Dec 28 2010, 07:15 AM
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Wow blink.gif

So are we seeing high cold[er] cloud tops punching though the normal aerosol/haze layer here?

P
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nprev
post Dec 28 2010, 07:24 AM
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So it would seem.

Question to anyone knowledgeable: Is the storm drifting within the larger atmosphere like the GRS, or is it fixed in longitude? Reason I ask is that it looks very much like a plume of sorts in this image, with the prevailing winds peeling off material from the top of the emission.

Would be interesting indeed if this is a manifestation of some sort of surface disturbance (whatever the word "surface" might mean on Saturn, if anything...)


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Hungry4info
post Dec 28 2010, 12:13 PM
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Anyone noticed the moon shadow? Not nearly as impressive as the storm but still moderately noteworthy.
Attached thumbnail(s)
Attached Image
 


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volcanopele
post Dec 28 2010, 08:15 PM
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Yep, that's Dione's shadow.


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volcanopele
post Dec 28 2010, 08:16 PM
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QUOTE (nprev @ Dec 28 2010, 12:24 AM) *
Question to anyone knowledgeable: Is the storm drifting within the larger atmosphere like the GRS, or is it fixed in longitude? Reason I ask is that it looks very much like a plume of sorts in this image, with the prevailing winds peeling off material from the top of the emission.

From what I've read, it is drifting about 2-2.5 degrees to the west (the head of the storm I mean) each day. So the System III longitude increases by that amount each day.


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Juramike
post Dec 29 2010, 04:18 PM
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Ground based image (Celestron C14 I assume): http://www.flickr.com/photos/31167687@N02/5299087913/


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nprev
post Dec 29 2010, 07:57 PM
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Thanks, VP, and wow, Mike! blink.gif The sheer scale of that thing is just jaw-dropping in this view!


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antipode
post Dec 29 2010, 11:16 PM
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Holy Moly! One of the images/events of the year - and right at the 11th hour too.

Ground based obs are going to produce some spectacular movies as they track the evolution of this baby...

P
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