Cryovolcanoes Spew Water And Ice On Enceladus

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Cryovolcanoes Spew Water And Ice On Enceladus

Enceladus is the sixth largest of Saturn's moons, so it's not particularly remarkable in terms of size. But what it lacks in mass, it makes up for in potential. Its surface is dotted with cryovolcanoes (colloquially known as ice volcanoes), which spew ice particles and water vapor in large plumes. The presence of these cryovolcanoes, at least one of which launches enough water to fill an Olympic swimming pool every few hours, led scientists to ask where the water was coming from. As it turns out, Enceladus has an ocean beneath its icy crust, and that ocean could meet the conditions for sustaining life.

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Key Facts to Know

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    In 2005, Cassini observed giant plumes of water erupting from the surface of Enceladus. 0:39

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    The ocean beneath Enceladus's icy crust is theorized to have about the same volume as Lake Superior. 1:42

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    Liquid water interacting with a rocky bed could lead to chemical reactions that produce nutrients. 2:10

The Cassini Division Splits Saturn's Rings

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The Cassini Division Splits Saturn's Rings

The Cassini Division is named for Giovanni Cassini, an astronomer who discovered the gap in 1675. The division exists because of the gravitational pull from Saturn's moon Mimas, which keeps the area clear of many small particles. However, the division is home to some ring material-it simply has much less than its surroundings.

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from SciShow

Key Facts to Know

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    Jupiter has 3 faint rings, Neptune has 5, and Uranus has 13. 0:23

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    Saturn's rings may have formed after a comet or moon entered its Roche limit. 1:05

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    Saturn's rings are almost entirely made of water ice. 1:34

Saturn's Most Epic Storm

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Saturn's Most Epic Storm

The Great White Spot typically erupts on Saturn every 30 years. In 2010, however, the storm was about a decade early. It wrapped around the planet in six months, and grew nearly as wide as Earth. Inside the storm, lightning flashed at 10 times or more per second.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The Great White Spot is a storm that erupts on Saturn about once every Saturn year. 0:12

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    The Cassini spacecraft allows scientists to study Saturn's Great White Spot over different wavelength ranges. 1:02

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    By May 2011, Saturn's Great White Spot had undergone a temperature change of more than 80 K. 1:32

In Saturn's RIngs

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In Saturn's RIngs

The day this image was captured (July 19, 2013) was known as "The day the Earth smiled," because it was the first time inhabitants of Earth would be aware their picture was being taken from space.

Facts About Planet Saturn

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Facts About Planet Saturn

Saturn is the second largest planet in the Solar System, but, because it is mostly made up of hydrogen and helium, is also the lightest. Learn more facts about the sixth planet from the sun.

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Key Facts to Know

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    Saturn is less dense than water, meaning it would float in a large enough pool. 0:27

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    Saturn's trip around the Sun takes 30 years, with Earth-like seasons occurring during its rotation. 1:44

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    There are approximately 62 moons which orbit Saturn. 2:13