Storms And Waves

It has enchanted astronomers for centuries, but Saturn close-up looks wholly new

For seven years and two billion miles, the Cassini space-craft carried the Huygens lander up to Saturn. Last December, six months after Cassini began its four-year study of Saturn, it released Huygens--a probe the size of a Volkswagen Beetle--on a trajectory toward Saturn´s largest moon, Titan. When Huygens entered Titan´s atmosphere 21 days later, it relayed pictures and data back to Earth through Cassini.

Better Than Evian
In this UV image of the rings, blue regions are water ice; red, empty space. Scientists can´t explain how the ice stays 99 percent pure though bombarded by meteorites. Scientists think that this storm, which flares up and recedes every few months, creates electrical eruptions that may cause powerful radio bursts.