Winter Blues

Astronomers cannot see the winter hemisphere of Saturn from Earth. So the blues of Saturn were a surprise to the Cassini mission scientists.

From our planet, Saturn appears to have a mellow tan-yellow hue, unlike the wild riot of Jupiter’s colors. In the northern hemisphere, where the rings shadow the cloud tops, Saturn was imaged in blue. Like the cold planet Neptune.

The image above shows the blues have left all but the extreme northern regions of the planet. We know very little about the chemistry and meteorology of materials at 300-below. (Even a bitter Iowa winter doesn’t compare.) Sure, scientists can produce cold temperatures in a laboratory. But on the scale of weather systems thousands of miles wide and tends of miles deep? No. We have to go to Saturn, probe more deeply, before we can find out why Saturn’s far north is so blue.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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