Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let It Snow... in Outer Space

It seems strangely appropriate that my next post after White Christmas should also involve frozen water. I first saw this photo on El Pais and thought: how cool! Then I did a little research to figure out the story behind the picture (because my Spanish, as we all know, sucks: all I got from El Pais was "a moon of Saturn exhales columns of water vapor"). I find here that Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons that I didn't even know existed, is supplying ice to the A-ring around the giant planet. Scientists had been observing water in the ring since the 1990s but didn't know the source of it. Now they do.

It seems that things in space operate pretty much the same as here on earth: finding the puddle is easy—finding the leak ain't.

1 comment:

Lee Wochner said...

If you had played the board game "Solarquest" all throughout college and frequently thereafter, you would be able to name more than a dozen of Saturn's moons with no problem.

It was particularly useful one day in a history of science class when the professor offhandedly remarked upon the moons of Mars and I instantaneously piped up, "Deimos and Phobos." Everyone, including him, was in awe. Meanwhile, I can remember absolutely nothing from his class, so you tell me, which was more educational, the board game or that entire semester of classes?

You can learn more about Solarquest here (I know you'll want to): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solarquest

While the true Solarquest (edition of 1985; not the ridiculous updated "corrected" versions) sadly fell into the black hole of discontinuation years ago, you can still find it on eBay.