TV Looks at Saturn

by Paul Gilster on July 24, 2007

Just a note that the History Channel’s series The Universe continues with a look at Saturn that is scheduled to run tonight at 9 PM EST here in the States, with a re-showing at 1 AM Wednesday morning. You can get a full schedule of repeat showings here — I notice the Saturn show pops up several more times in early August. I’ve enjoyed the series so far, and as you’ll see from its site, the History Channel is supporting it with various interactive features. You’ll see some names familiar from Centauri Dreams stories popping up among the researchers interviewed each week.

{ 6 comments }

Kevin W. Parker July 25, 2007 at 16:09

Do you think they’ll ever leave the solar system? Saturn is the most distant part of the universe they’ve gotten to so far, and they’re at least eight episodes in.

Administrator July 25, 2007 at 16:39

Kevin, it looks like the next episode will indeed go deeper — here’s their summary: “Alien Galaxies: July 31 at 9pm/8c. Our sun is one of a billion stars in the Milky Way, and our galaxy is one of hundreds of billions in the universe. If you want to know our place in the universe, take a look up and far, far away to the realm of ALIEN GALAXIES.” I’ll post a note before this one runs.

Todd July 30, 2007 at 17:28

It’s nice to see astronomy on tv, but I wish the producers had consulted a real expert on their visuals. The volcanoes next to Enceladus tiger stripes were just plain falsehoods. I lost count of how many times they ran the little clip of ring collisions. Would it have increased production costs much to sample the interesting stuff on Phoebe, Iapetus, and Hyperion?

Science tv on cable discontinued meat at least a decade ago, and what passes for science today is an embarassment compared to the old National Geographic specials.

ljk July 31, 2007 at 10:28

Or Nova on PBS. Their ScienceNOW programs are designed for
the current short attention span generation – and this is from the
very mouth of the host, Neil Tyson DeGrasse!

Todd July 31, 2007 at 23:41

ljk, short attention spans are no excuse for gross inaccuracies. A skillful and knowledgeable director and writer would be able to cater to short attention spans and present good science. The History Channel folks are just lazy on this one.

ljk October 25, 2007 at 9:27

The population of propellers in Saturn’s A Ring

Authors: Matthew S. Tiscareno, Joseph A. Burns, Matthew M. Hedman, Carolyn C. Porco

(Submitted on 24 Oct 2007)

Abstract: We present an extensive data set of ~150 localized features from Cassini images of Saturn’s Ring A, a third of which are demonstrated to be persistent by their appearance in multiple images, and half of which are resolved well enough to reveal a characteristic “propeller” shape. We interpret these features as the signatures of small moonlets embedded within the ring, with diameters between 40 and 500 meters. The lack of significant brightening at high phase angle indicates that they are likely composed primarily of macroscopic particles, rather than dust. With the exception of two features found exterior to the Encke Gap, these objects are concentrated entirely within three narrow (~1000 km) bands in the mid-A Ring that happen to be free from local disturbances from strong density waves. However, other nearby regions are similarly free of major disturbances but contain no propellers. It is unclear whether these bands are due to specific events in which a parent body or bodies broke up into the current moonlets, or whether a larger initial moonlet population has been sculpted into bands by other ring processes.

Comments: 30 pages, 10 figures; Submitted to AJ

Subjects: Astrophysics (astro-ph)

Cite as: arXiv:0710.4547v1 [astro-ph]

Submission history

From: Matthew S. Tiscareno [view email]

[v1] Wed, 24 Oct 2007 17:31:21 GMT (3869kb,D)

http://arxiv.org/abs/0710.4547

Comments on this entry are closed.