APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

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APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby APOD Robot » Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:11 am

[img]https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/calendar/S_170313.jpg[/img] Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini

Explanation: Why does Saturn's moon Pan look so odd? Images taken last week from the robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn have resolved the moon in unprecedented detail. The surprising images reveal a moon that looks something like a walnut with a slab through its middle. Other visible features on Pan include rolling terrain, long ridges, and a few craters. Spanning 30-kilometer across, Pan orbits inside the 300-kilometer wide Encke Gap of Saturn's expansive A-ring, a gap known since the late 1800s. Next month, Cassini will be directed to pass near Saturn's massive moon Titan so it can be pulled into a final series of orbits that will take it, on occasion, completely inside Saturn's rings and prepare it to dive into Saturn's atmosphere.

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby sillyworm » Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:29 am

Amazing pictures! Pan looks to be made of ice/snow.

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby ceelias » Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:43 am

Does the "slab" on Pan have fewer craters than the main body of the moon?

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby Ann » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:08 am

Photo: It must be Cassini!
Image
Saturn's moon Iapetus with equatorial ridge.
Photo: Cassini.
Well, what can I say? I'm flabbergasted by Pan! I thought another moon of Saturn's, Iapetus, was the king of equatorial ridges in the solar system. Little did I know! :shock:

If Pan isn't a spaceship or a hat, it must be... well, I guess it must be a moon after all.

But goodness me, what does it look like!!! :shock:

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby Night eyes » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:38 am

Wow, very strange, what made it have such an odd shape? A flying saucer left over from an alien space probe? LOL !

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby Knight of Clear Skies » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:23 am

It looks like a prop from an Ed Wood movie. Its thought that equatorial ridge (or lifebelt) is material deposited from Saturn's rings: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2017/20170309-cassini-drops-amazing-images.html

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby JohnD » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:47 am

Thank you, Ann! Among the many comments on Pan, no one else has noted the ridge that it shares with Iapetus, previously the only known example. Iapetus is old enough to have craters all over, including its ridge, as you show; Pan is so young (or so frequently remade) as to have almost none, anywhere, so what does this ridge tell us about moon formation?

John

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:53 am

"Happy are the peaceable ... "

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:07 am

If you don't know what a bedpan is, well then, you've been fortunate.

I'm sorry, butt sometimes things just have to come out.
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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby ta152h0 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:19 am

this is going to be my new " pondering rock ". Like pet rocks !
Wolf Kotenberg

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby douglas » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:42 am

Ann wrote:
Photo: It must be Cassini!
Image
Saturn's moon Iapetus with equatorial ridge.
Photo: Cassini.
Well, what can I say? I'm flabbergasted by Pan! I thought another moon of Saturn's, Iapetus, was the king of equatorial ridges in the solar system. Little did I know! :shock:

If Pan isn't a spaceship or a hat, it must be... well, I guess it must be a moon after all.

But goodness me, what does it look like!!! :shock:

Ann


Iapetus' walnut ridge was explained as from spin up, but Pan even shows Phobos-like stress grooves. Did its "hat brim" produce the stress?

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby Ray-Optics » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:27 pm

Since Pan orbits in the Encke gap along with an irregular ringlet, a hypothesis for the hat brim occurs to me: It is picking up "snow" from this ringlet along its "equator" of spin. Pan's gravity must be very low, so ring snow could pile high. An overall snow layer may also account for the relatively young-looking surface.

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:48 pm

Ray-Optics wrote:Since Pan orbits in the Encke gap along with an irregular ringlet, a hypothesis for the hat brim occurs to me: It is picking up "snow" from this ringlet along its "equator" of spin. Pan's gravity must be very low, so ring snow could pile high. An overall snow layer may also account for the relatively young-looking surface.

That makes sense, making Pan one of the weirdest objects in our solar system; the only world with a miles deep permanent equatorial snowpack.

Bruce
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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby JohnD » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:54 pm

That is a most attractive theory, given the picture of Pan ("Equatorial view of Pan from Cassini, with the rings of Saturn surrounding the moon") on the Wiki entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_(moon) Sorry to reference Wiki, but it's the onky source of that pic I can find.

But in looking I also find Atlas! This Saturnian moon has not yet been imaged as well as Pan,but appears to have a ridge but is NOT a shepherd moon! http://www.whillyard.com/science-pages/our-solar-system/shepherd-moons.html Unless it has moved away from the rings, there must be another source of the ridge.

John

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:34 pm

JohnD wrote:That is a most attractive theory, given the picture of Pan ("Equatorial view of Pan from Cassini, with the rings of Saturn surrounding the moon") on the Wiki entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_(moon) Sorry to reference Wiki, but it's the onky source of that pic I can find.

But in looking I also find Atlas! This Saturnian moon has not yet been imaged as well as Pan,but appears to have a ridge but is NOT a shepherd moon! http://www.whillyard.com/science-pages/ ... moons.html Unless it has moved away from the rings, there must be another source of the ridge.

John


Good catch to point out Atlas John. It could have a very similar morphology to Pan though. As Ray-Optics noted, Pan has a ring-let that shares its orbit. The second link you provided says that Atlas also shares its orbit with a ring-let. So I stand sit corrected on Pan's one-of-a-kind status.

Bruce
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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby Ann » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:52 pm

Image
Thomson and Thompson, or Atlas and Pan?
Source: http://tintin.wikia.com/
wiki/Thompson_and_Thomson
Atlas and Pan are two of a kind!

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby Steve Dutch » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:39 pm

Nice real example of a stress ellipsoid. The conjugate shear fractures indicate the maximum compression was oriented vertically and tension roughly horizontally. What's the direction to Saturn? My guess is to the left or right. The equatorial skirt of course is the ring plane.

Steve Dutch

Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby Steve Dutch » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:45 pm

John, why are you sorry to cite Wiki? A number of studies have shown it compares favorably with more standard references. Most of the people who bash Wikipedia seem not to want an easily located source capable of calling out their errors.

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby bystander » Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:18 pm

JohnD wrote:That is a most attractive theory, given the picture of Pan ("Equatorial view of Pan from Cassini, with the rings of Saturn surrounding the moon") on the Wiki entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_(moon) Sorry to reference Wiki, but it's the onky source of that pic I can find.

But in looking I also find Atlas! This Saturnian moon has not yet been imaged as well as Pan,but appears to have a ridge but is NOT a shepherd moon! http://www.whillyard.com/science-pages/our-solar-system/shepherd-moons.html Unless it has moved away from the rings, there must be another source of the ridge.

John

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby neufer » Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:49 pm

Ann wrote:
Image
Thomson and Thompson, or Atlas and Pan?
Atlas and Pan are two of a kind!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Son_of_Man wrote:
<<The Son of Man (French: Le fils de l'homme) is a 1964 painting by the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte. About the painting, Magritte said: At least it hides the face partly well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It's something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.>>
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby JohnD » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:10 pm

The Wilyard site does refer to a "faint" ring associated with Atlas, but also says definitely that it is not a shepherd moon. Maybe the shepherd has lost his sheep, or other shepherds have led them astray.
I don't think we understand the dynamics of Saturn's ring system well enough to say, perhaps three ridged moons, with different sizes and associations may point to new ideas.
Wiki? It's a secondary reference source. I hoped to find where that Pan picture was from
John

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby Jimbo Jones » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:38 pm

OK...fantastic new pics...what is the dark spot on the right side at 4:00 ? Looks like a shadow? Gonna miss Cassini...

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby alcor » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:43 pm

I just enjoy todays comments. They are so dead-pan witty. :D :roll:

The comparison you make, with two other of Saturn's moons is very interesting: Atlas and Iapetus. I am also looking forward to better images of Atlas. Perhaps the Cassini team will deliver something in the future.
Arne

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby Billy » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:13 pm

The 'slab' kind of reminds me of a cornice. Maybe it's an accumulation of ring material?

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Re: APOD: Saturn's Moon Pan from Cassini (2017 Mar 13)

Postby neufer » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:18 pm

JohnD wrote:
The Wilyard site does refer to a "faint" ring associated with Atlas, but also says definitely that it is not a shepherd moon.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_ ... e_Division wrote:
<<The separation between the A Ring and the F Ring has been named the Roche Division in honor of the French physicist Édouard Roche. Lying at the outer edge of the main ring system, the Roche Division is in fact close to Saturn's Roche limit, which is why the rings have been unable to accrete into a moon. Like the Cassini Division, the Roche Division is not empty but contains a sheet of material. The character of this material is similar to the tenuous and dusty D, E, and G Rings. Two locations in the Roche Division have a higher concentration of dust than the rest of the region. These were discovered by the Cassini probe imaging team and were given temporary designations: R/2004 S 1, which lies along the orbit of the moon Atlas; and R/2004 S 2, centered at 138,900 km from Saturn's center, inward of the orbit of Prometheus.>>
JohnD wrote:
Maybe the shepherd has lost his sheep,
or other shepherds have led them astray.
Art Neuendorffer


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