School of Physics and Astronomy

Mini-jets make the Top 10!

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Work carried out by planetary scientists in the Astronomy Unit has been chosen as one of the Top 10 Science Highlights of NASA's Cassini mission in 2012.  Nick Attree, Carl Murray, Nick Cooper and Gareth Williams reported their work on trails, or "mini-jets", in Saturn's peculiar F ring in April 2012.  The image was taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera just after the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn on 1 July 2004.  The inset shows presence of a "mini-jet" approximately 55km long emanating from the bright core of Saturn's F ring.  These features are caused by the gentle (about 2 m/s) impact of icy objects with the core.  The QMUL astronomers have shown that there are about 500 examples of such features detectable in the images taken by Cassini's cameras and provided an explanation for their unusual properties.  This is the third consecutive year that QMUL research on the F ring has featured in Cassini's Top 10 Science Highlights.

Top 10 Science Highlights of NASA's Cassini mission in 2012