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Saturn's largest Moon is definitely wet.
As another month ends and a new one begins, let's celebrate the early evening dark and "set the skies on fire" by studying AE Aurigae! Want a challenge for the big scope? We'll check out southern galactic clusters for binoculars and Telescopes and learn the location of several comets. It's North America's turn as the Moon occults not one - but two stars in the same night! And right when you thought you could sleep late, the moments before dawn will offer a morning conjunction worth waking up for! So mark your calendars and hope for clear skies because here's what's up!
When Huygens landed on Titan, it saw river channels, beaches, islands and swirling fog. So Saturn's largest Moon is definitely wet: not from water, but from liquid methane (aka natural gas). And if this methane can fall as rain, it's entirely possible that there could be rainbows, as the Sun's light passes through methane droplets. A methane rainbow would be a larger than a water rainbow because it bends light differently. Sunlight has trouble passing through Titan's hazy atmosphere, but you might be able to see an Infrared rainbow with the right kind of camera.
Scientists have captured an image of Saturn's magnetic field using a special instrument on board NASA's Cassini spacecraft called the Magnetospheric Imaging Instrument (MIMI). MIMI is able to measure how ions streaming from the Sun are pushed around by Saturn's powerful magnetic field, and create a 3-D image of the planet's surroundings. Using this instrument, the scientists discovered a powerful radiation field just inside Saturn's rings.
An unmanned Progress cargo ship is about to blast off from Kazakhstan, carrying much needed supplies to the International Space Station. If everything goes well, the 17th Progress mission will lift off today carrying a variety of supplies: food, water, air, spare parts, and life support equipment. One important piece of cargo is a new digital camera that the station crew will use to inspect the Space Shuttle for damage when it docks.
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