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Atlas V rocket successfully lifted off this morning.
Ice particles are a key part of Saturn's changing environment according to a new paper published by Larry Esposito from the University of Colorado at Boulder. According to Esposito, much of Saturn's system is filled with ice, and its components: oxygen and hydrogen, which extend millions of kilometres outward from the planet. Researchers are seeing large fluctuations in the amount of oxygen, which could be caused by small, icy moons which are colliding with the planet's E ring, which produces small grains of ice that yield oxygen atoms.
An Atlas V rocket successfully lifted off this morning carrying an AMC-16 broadcast satellite into orbit. The rocket launched at 1207 UTC (7:07 am EST) from Cape Canaveral, and put the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit nearly two hours later. Its final location will be at 85-degrees West, where it will provide broadcast services to the Americas.
On Cassini's recent flyby of Titan, scientists discovered that Saturn's largest Moon has a surprising number of layers of haze in its atmosphere. These layers of haze extend several hundred kilometres above the moon's surface. This image was taken in ultraviolet, and then colourized on computer to look like natural colour.
Cassini took this image of Dione set against giant Saturn as it approached the icy Moon for its December 14th flyby. This picture, taken from 603,000 kilometers (375,000 miles), shows how Dione has colour variations across its surface, but it's largely gray. Several oval shaped storms are visible raging across Saturn's banded atmosphere.
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