Sprinkling Saturn

Seems like in space there’s actually “water, water everywhere…”

The European Space Agency’s Herschel space observatory has shown that water expelled from Saturn’s moon Enceladus forms a giant torus of water vapor around the planet:

Enceladus expels around 250 kg of water vapor every second, through a collection of jets from the south polar region known as the Tiger Stripes because of their distinctive surface markings.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

3 thoughts on “Sprinkling Saturn

  1. This can’t be “new” news! I’m sure I’ve read this quite some time ago And sulphur from Io also forms a torus around Jupiter, by the way — you *didn’t* hear it here first!

  2. You’re right — the water part has been known for at least 14 years, says the article. The “news” is that they’ve now determined this moon’s ejected water is the source of traces of gaseous water in the upper layer of Saturn’s atmosphere — “a particular enigma” til now.

  3. Okay. I’ll buy that. The moon and the ring were old news, but the H2O in the upper atmosphere of Saturn is new. I gather that the mystery with Jupiter is that ther *isn’t* as much water vapour as they expected, though the problem might be that the probe they dropped in might have gone down a dry cell. I wonder if there could be another moon, sucking water up from Jupiter? Naw. That would be Io, and all it may have sucked up from Jupiter is more sulphur.

    Ain’t the solar system full of suprises. Vesta looks like a doorknob.

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