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Final Images from Cassini Spacecraft

25 Jan 2020, 08:53 UTC
Final Images from Cassini Spacecraft
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Lancaster researchers are busy analyzing some of the final data sent back from the Cassini spacecraft which has been in orbit around Saturn for more than 13 years until the end of its mission in September 2017.For the last leg of its journey, Cassini was put on a particularly daring orbit passing between Saturn and its rings which brought it closer to Saturn than ever before. This allowed scientists to obtain images of Saturn's ultraviolet auroras in unprecedented resolution. The new observations are detailed in two new studies published in Geophysical Research Letters and JGR: Space Physics.Saturn's auroras are generated by the interaction of the solar wind, a stream of energetic particles emitted by the Sun, with Saturn's rapidly rotating magnetic field. They are located in the planet's polar regions and known to be highly dynamic, often pulsating and flashing as different dynamic processes occur in the planet's plasma environment.Lancaster PhD student and lead author of the research Alexander Bader said: "Surprisingly many questions revolving around Saturn's auroras remain unanswered, even after the outstanding success of the Cassini mission. "This last set of close-up images gives us unique highly detailed views of the small-scale structures which couldn't be discerned in ...

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