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As early as a billion years after the Big Bang.


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Big Bang.
Billion years after the Big Bang.

Close up on Enceladus.

Just two days after visiting Titan, Cassini swept past another Saturnian moon: Enceladus. The spacecraft got within just 1,180 kilometers (730 miles) of the bright moon. Enceladus is unusual because of the high reflectivity of its surface, which resembles freshly fallen snow. But in this close-up view, the best ever taken, it has a much more wrinkled look. Enceladus is only 505 kilometers (314 miles) across.

Galaxy clusters formed early in the universe.

As early as a billion years after the Big Bang, clusters of Galaxies were already forming together according to observations made with the Subaru Telescope. This is much earlier than Astronomers had expected, and shows that Galaxies didn't need to fully form before they began organizing into clusters. A team from Japan studied hundreds of Galaxies approximately 12.7 billion light years away and found that many were forming small clusters even as they were forming some of their first stars.

Saturn's mysterious auroras explained.

In some ways, the bright auroras at Saturn's poles are very similar to our own Northern/Southern lights here on Earth. But in other ways, they're very different, and it's a mystery that has been puzzling Astronomers since they were first discovered 25 years ago. Saturn's auroras can brighten for days (compared to minutes here Earth), and can stay still while the planet rotates underneath. Now scientists have used observations from Hubble and the Cassini spacecraft to develop a new theory about how Saturn's magnetic field interacts with the solar wind to produce its unusual auroras.

Giant crater discovered on Titan.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft spotted a large impact crater on Titan during its flyby on Tuesday. The crater is 440 km (273 miles) wide, and has unusual parallel lines on it (researchers have nicknamed them "cat scratches"). It's believed that these lines could have been formed by winds, like sand dunes on Earth or Mars, but it's also possible that another geological process is at work.

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