CAROLYN PORCO
What we’ve long suspected — that beneath the unique geological province capping the south polar terrain of Saturn’s moon Enceladus lies a deep, sunless sea — is finally confirmed by analysis of Cassini’s gravity results, published this week in the journal Science.  To see how close I came in ‘guessing’ the depth and size, don’t miss my 2008 Scientific American article about Enceladus, featuring work done by Ron Miller, renowned space artist, and myself.
So when are we going back to check it out???!!!

What we’ve long suspected — that beneath the unique geological province capping the south polar terrain of Saturn’s moon Enceladus lies a deep, sunless sea — is finally confirmed by analysis of Cassini’s gravity results, published this week in the journal Science.

To see how close I came in ‘guessing’ the depth and size, don’t miss my 2008 Scientific American article about Enceladus, featuring work done by Ron Miller, renowned space artist, and myself.


So when are we going back to check it out???!!!

Are you, perchance, as fascinated as I am by Cassini’s discoveries at Enceladus, and the prospects for finding there a genuine, second genesis of life, thriving in the dark, salty sea underlying its south polar terrain? Well, if so, you will want to read this article, just published today in the journal Astrobiology by my coauthors and me, in which we lay out the argument why Enceladus, more than any other destination in the solar system, is the most promising place to search for life or its precursor chemistry.Our work, ‘Follow the Plume’, also presents the case why the next mission to Enceladus must include both a payload to conduct in-situ chemical sampling of the plume, more advanced than Cassini’s, and … wait for it! … a component to return a sample of the plume ice back to Earth.It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it decidedly is not. We have the capability. We need only the will and the resources.Are you on board?[And look for exciting news about Enceladus from Cassini this coming Thursday…only 2 days from now. The journey continues…]
Follow the Plume - The Habitability of Enceladus [PDF]

Are you, perchance, as fascinated as I am by Cassini’s discoveries at Enceladus, and the prospects for finding there a genuine, second genesis of life, thriving in the dark, salty sea underlying its south polar terrain?

Well, if so, you will want to read this article, just published today in the journal Astrobiology by my coauthors and me, in which we lay out the argument why Enceladus, more than any other destination in the solar system, is the most promising place to search for life or its precursor chemistry.

Our work, ‘Follow the Plume’, also presents the case why the next mission to Enceladus must include both a payload to conduct in-situ chemical sampling of the plume, more advanced than Cassini’s, and … wait for it! … a component to return a sample of the plume ice back to Earth.

It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it decidedly is not. We have the capability. We need only the will and the resources.

Are you on board?

[And look for exciting news about Enceladus from Cassini this coming Thursday…only 2 days from now. The journey continues…]

Follow the Plume - The Habitability of Enceladus [PDF]

From far away, you’d never know how fascinating the tiny ring-region moons of Saturn really are. This week from Cassini!
CICLOPS.org: Four Moons

From far away, you’d never know how fascinating the tiny ring-region moons of Saturn really are. This week from Cassini!

CICLOPS.org: Four Moons

And on this special day, here’s a little somethin’ to show how I REALLY feel about all of you.Happy Valentine’s Day 2014 !!

And on this special day, here’s a little somethin’ to show how I REALLY feel about all of you.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2014 !!

Recent fast-solar-wind activity on our Sun has not only given Earth some dramatic auroral displays in the last few years but Saturn too!Today, the Cassini project has released new images showing colorful aurorae at Saturn’s south pole, as observed by the Cassini Imaging Team’s high resolution cameras on Cassini, and movies showing aurorae surrounding the planet’s north and south poles, as seen in a set of choreographed ultraviolet and infrared observations from both Cassini and the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.
CICLOPS.org: Saturn’s Colorful Aurora

Recent fast-solar-wind activity on our Sun has not only given Earth some dramatic auroral displays in the last few years but Saturn too!

Today, the Cassini project has released new images showing colorful aurorae at Saturn’s south pole, as observed by the Cassini Imaging Team’s high resolution cameras on Cassini, and movies showing aurorae surrounding the planet’s north and south poles, as seen in a set of choreographed ultraviolet and infrared observations from both Cassini and the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

CICLOPS.org: Saturn’s Colorful Aurora

Tonight marks the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, when I was just 11 and transistor radios were all the rage. CBS aired a splendid and touching Grammy Tribute to them, at the end of which Paul and Ringo (with a nod to their childhood friends and band mates John and George) shared the stage in a rare performance together since the group’s breakup. And me? I cried like a baby.We’ll never see the likes of them or their time again. And when comes my time to bid this life goodbye, I will be warmed by the fact that I was young during the 1960s when The Beatles played Masters of Ceremony. Here now, in honor of tonight’s joyous landmark event, is a subset of the Cassini Imaging Team (with me as John) in our 2001 tribute to John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Enjoy!
CICLOPS.org: Cassini Imaging Team Crossing Abbey Road, London, England

Tonight marks the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, when I was just 11 and transistor radios were all the rage. CBS aired a splendid and touching Grammy Tribute to them, at the end of which Paul and Ringo (with a nod to their childhood friends and band mates John and George) shared the stage in a rare performance together since the group’s breakup. And me? I cried like a baby.

We’ll never see the likes of them or their time again. And when comes my time to bid this life goodbye, I will be warmed by the fact that I was young during the 1960s when The Beatles played Masters of Ceremony.

Here now, in honor of tonight’s joyous landmark event, is a subset of the Cassini Imaging Team (with me as John) in our 2001 tribute to John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Enjoy!

CICLOPS.org: Cassini Imaging Team Crossing Abbey Road, London, England

Wonderful view of Saturn’s recently illuminated north pole and hexagonal jet stream in this week’s image from Cassini!CICLOPS.org: Round and Round

Wonderful view of Saturn’s recently illuminated north pole and hexagonal jet stream in this week’s image from Cassini!
CICLOPS.org: Round and Round

A fabulous week in the UK, starting with appearances on BBC Stargazing LIVE and seeing the ‘Let It Be’ show at the Savoy Theatre in London…50 years after the Beatles first arrived in America…comes to an end with a night of debauchery in which Monty Python meets Spock and Captain Bleep! [Yes, that’s Eric Idle on the left and Professor Brian Cox on the right. And yes, those are glasses filled with merry-making liquids!]

A fabulous week in the UK, starting with appearances on BBC Stargazing LIVE and seeing the ‘Let It Be’ show at the Savoy Theatre in London…50 years after the Beatles first arrived in America…comes to an end with a night of debauchery in which Monty Python meets Spock and Captain Bleep! [Yes, that’s Eric Idle on the left and Professor Brian Cox on the right. And yes, those are glasses filled with merry-making liquids!]

Deep into that darkness peering, long you’ll stand there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal dared to dream before, As you stare into its fiery eye and feel the menace of the maelstrom that swirls around the north pole of Saturn. It is this week’s image from Cassini taken in the infrared. This beast is about 1,200 miles across and blows with the fierceness of 330 mile/hour winds … 50% faster than the winds that leveled Moore, Oklahoma in May 2013. Exploring the outer planetary systems that orbit our star is not for the faint of heart. (With gratitude to Edgar Allan Poe.)
CICLOPS.org: The Maelstrom

Deep into that darkness peering, long you’ll stand there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal dared to dream before,

As you stare into its fiery eye and feel the menace of the maelstrom that swirls around the north pole of Saturn. It is this week’s image from Cassini taken in the infrared. This beast is about 1,200 miles across and blows with the fierceness of 330 mile/hour winds … 50% faster than the winds that leveled Moore, Oklahoma in May 2013. Exploring the outer planetary systems that orbit our star is not for the faint of heart. (With gratitude to Edgar Allan Poe.)

CICLOPS.org: The Maelstrom

For your holiday enjoyment: An interview I gave recently, ranging from The Day the Earth Smiled to searching for life on Enceladus and Europa. It was excerpted from an Inquiring Minds podcast I did with journalist Chris Mooney that is a regular feature of the Environment section of the Mother Jones website. In part of this far ranging discussion, both Mooney and I refer to an event at The Library of Congress, at which I spoke, honoring Carl Sagan, and an interview I did about Sagan with the LOC folks in conjunction with that event. Enjoy!MotherJones.com: This Woman Took Your Picture…From Saturn

For your holiday enjoyment: An interview I gave recently, ranging from The Day the Earth Smiled to searching for life on Enceladus and Europa. It was excerpted from an Inquiring Minds podcast I did with journalist Chris Mooney that is a regular feature of the Environment section of the Mother Jones website. In part of this far ranging discussion, both Mooney and I refer to an event at The Library of Congress, at which I spoke, honoring Carl Sagan, and an interview I did about Sagan with the LOC folks in conjunction with that event. Enjoy!

MotherJones.com: This Woman Took Your Picture…From Saturn

Repeat the sounding joy!

We on the Cassini imaging team deliver to the world this holiday season … what else! … the gift of heavenly imagery starring the majestic globe of Saturn and its two most astounding moons, Titan and Enceladus.

In this, our 10th Christmas offering from across the hundreds of millions of miles that lie between us and Saturn, you will find some of the most splendid and fascinating sights this historic exploration of the ringed planet has uncovered: the hexagonally-shaped jet stream encircling the pole in Saturn’s northern hemisphere, the graceful shadows of its rings arcing across its south, the northern lakes and seas of liquid organics hidden under the hazy atmosphere of Titan, the brilliant ball of glittering ice that is the small active world of Enceladus, and more.

Spend a moment or two and revel in the marvels that our travels in this far-flung planetary system have brought. What wonders we have had for a decade to behold.

Best wishes to all of you, and stay warm, safe, and happy!

CICLOPS: Holiday Offerings All the Way from Saturn

A couple of months ago, I just happened to be in LA and was invited to drop by the set of Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. And you’ll never guess who I ran into? Yep, the man himself … Neil deGrasse Tyson … doing the last bit of blue-screen filming, walking high in the mountains somewhere, only not really. Looks like it’s going to be a rockin’ good show next spring. Stay tuned for that!In the meantime, not a bad looking couple of oldies, huh?

A couple of months ago, I just happened to be in LA and was invited to drop by the set of Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. And you’ll never guess who I ran into? Yep, the man himself … Neil deGrasse Tyson … doing the last bit of blue-screen filming, walking high in the mountains somewhere, only not really. Looks like it’s going to be a rockin’ good show next spring. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, not a bad looking couple of oldies, huh?

ALMA … A Portal on the Universe
High in the barren Atacama Desert at 16,500 feet, on the virtually rainless Chajnantor plateau of northern Chile, lies an interferometer composed of 66 individual radio dishes, built to study the early dawn of the cosmos, 13 billion years ago.

Called the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), it was completed this year by a league of nations and now stands as the largest telescope in the world. Its work in peering across time to uncover the light of the first stars has only just begun.

Nothing to me signifies hope, a yearning to know, and the communion we seek with the cosmos more than the sight of a brigade of radio dishes pointed skyward. Here are some personal pictures taken by astronomer Mike Stogoski of the ALMA dishes and their surroundings…not too different from Mars.

Further information about ALMA can be found at the European Observatory Website.

Regard the artful handiwork of Prometheus and Daphnis, some of the main architects of Saturn’s ring structure, against a field of stars in Cassini’s Image of the Week!
CICLOPS.org - Artists at Work

Regard the artful handiwork of Prometheus and Daphnis, some of the main architects of Saturn’s ring structure, against a field of stars in Cassini’s Image of the Week!

CICLOPS.org - Artists at Work