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Solar Flares, Jupiter’s Rings and…The Death Star?

September 18, 2012



The filament had been held up for days by the Sun’s ever changing magnetic field and the timing of the eruption was unexpected. Watched closely by the Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, the resulting explosion shot electrons and ions into the Solar System, some of which arrived at Earth three days later and impacted Earth’s magnetosphere, causing visible aurorae

At least the earth would have three days to shut down the electrical grid if we experienced a Carrington Event, because of this NASA satellite. The photo almost looks like a painting but its not.

More about a CARRINGTON EVENT . If you’re into science or an interesting read it’s very good.

A couple of other historical things that happened about that time (August  1859) was the first successful oil well was drilled, near Titusville, Penn by Edwin Drake the day before the flare, the elevator was patented on the ninth and the first air mail (by balloon) took off from Lafayette Indiana.


Saturn: Bright Tethys and Ancient Rings
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: How old are Saturn’s rings? No one is quite sure. One possibility is that the rings formed relatively recently in our Solar System’s history, perhaps only about 100 million years ago when a moon-sized object broke up near Saturn. Evidence for a young ring age includes a basic stability analysis for rings, and the fact that the rings are so bright and relatively unaffected by numerous small dark meteor impacts. More recent evidence, however, raises the possibility that some of Saturn’s rings may be billions of years old and so almost as old as Saturn itself. Inspection of images by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft indicates that some of Saturn’s ring particles temporarily bunch and collide, effectively recycling ring particles by bringing fresh bright ices to the surface. Seen here, Saturn’s rings were imaged in their true colors by the robotic Cassini in late October. Icy bright Tethys, a moon of Saturn likely brightened by a sandblasting rain of ice from sister moon Enceladus, is visible in front of the darker rings.


As for The Death Star(?) in the background.

At first I thought it looked Mimas (aka The Death Star) but Tethys also has a similarly large crater….


Huge, shallow crater Odysseus, with its uplifted central complex, the Scheria Montes, is at the top of this image.



Mimas with its large crater Herschel. Prominent bright-walled craters in this view include Ban just left of center near top, and Percivale (with several dark streaks) two thirds of the way left of Herschel.


When seen from certain angles, Mimas closely resembles the Death Star, a fictional space station known from the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, which is said to be roughly 140 kilometres in diameter. This resemblance stems from the fact that Herschel can appear in Mimas’s northern hemisphere, much like the concave disc of the Death Star’s “superlaser”.


And I have a hard time taking a decent picture from a few feet away from a subject.


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