Space News: Giant clouds, magnetic holes, moon mysteries and more!

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
21,740
Location
Highlands
#1
saturn-hexagon.png


I'm finally able to put together a new news digest after a quiet run last week. :)


1. Saturn's towering hexgon

Remember that the planet Saturn has a giant cloud formation in the shape of a hexagon at its north pole? Well, apparently that hexagon creates a vortex that rises hundreds of kilometers above the surrounding cloud layer: Saturn's famous hexagon may tower above the clouds

The long-lived international Cassini mission has revealed a surprising feature emerging at Saturn's northern pole as it nears summertime: a warming, high-altitude vortex with a hexagonal shape, akin to the famous hexagon seen deeper down in Saturn's clouds. This suggests that the lower-altitude hexagon may influence what happens up above, and that it could be a towering structure spanning hundreds of kilometres in height.

2. Jupiter's 3rd pole

Speaking of poles, Jupiter has an odd one - or three. Bluntly, Jupiter has a huge third magnetic pole at its equator, which is baffling everyone: Juno shows Jupiter's magnetic field is very different from Earth's

While it does have flux lines emanating from its north pole, it also has two return points, rather than just one—one is located near its south pole, the other close to its equator. Also, on Earth, parts of the magnetic field do not favor either pole, and are instead spread between the two. With Jupiter, the same kinds of magnetic fields are almost all in the northern hemisphere.
...
The researchers note that thus far, there is no data that can explain Jupiter's odd magnetic field, but suggest it most likely has something to do with the planet's unique internal structure.

3. Moon's swirls show volcanic past

And still on the subject of magnetic fields, there's a curious feature of the Moon called Lunar Swirls that are visible with a telescope but have baffled scientists for decades. We know they are magnetic, but weren't sure why. It now turns out they may be caused by iron deposits in lava tubes under the Moon's surface: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/gorgeous-lunar-swirls-record-the-moons-ancient-magnetism


4. Lunar surface "weathered"

And keeping with the moon, have you ever wondered why the Moon sometimes has light streaks from impact craters? The suggestion is that the solar wind effectively weathers the lunar crust, and meteorite crates expose the protected surface underneath: Bright streaks on the moon are a product of space weathering

This seems like common sense, but now opens up new ways to better understand craters across the Moon.


5. "Mass wasting" keep comets turning

A comet should run out of steam once gas and ice has escaped through the surface - but comets somehow seem to keep active longer than they should. Now a team of scientists have suggested that landslides and avalanches help expose new deposits of gas and ice, allowing the comet to keep active and turning: Landslides, avalanches may be key to long-term comet activity


6. Grains of water may have seeded Earth

We know there's ice in space - we still don't know how the Earth managed to gain so much water. Now there's a suggestion that rather than relying on comets and asteroids to bring it home, it could have been already present in the billions and billions of dust grains that came together to form the Earth in the first place: Water in small dust grains can explain large amounts of water on Earth


BONUS! 10 fun funghi facts from the BBC: Ten fascinating facts about fungi
 
Last edited:

Robert Zwilling

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
143
#2
The fungal synopsis was very interesting. It recycles the rot and because it can also promote rot instead of waiting for rot to form it can get a bad name. The article mentioned dark taxa, unknown life. From the 90 percent unknown figure, if there is more unknown life than known life, everything we know about that disappears is replaced by some of that unknown stuff. Picture massive waiting lines oozing up out of the ground.

The bacteria/fungi/virus/other ratio in the soil probably isn't fixed and less bacteria might mean more fungi in the soil, which are more like animals, more like us, maybe even capable of occupying the space we take up.

There is a quantity of water locked in minerals 300 to 500 miles underground in the mantle transition zone. It is has been said the amount of water locked up could equal the water on the surface. This planet might really be a galactic water hole but probably too small to be mentioned in the galactic real estate listings.

The mineral deposits have only been verified in a few locations, so it's only an assumption that the minerals are equally distributed in the mantle. The water grains could explain how all that water got locked up in the mantle, and could also mean there is a lot more water in this planet than we think. Water world might be a very apt description. There is a lot of water in the crust zone, getting resupplied by cosmic sources and recycled back out of subduction zones. Then there is a dry zone for 300 miles, then a wet crystal zone of water, then back to dry, and maybe more wet crystal zones under that.

Large amount of water in ringwoodite deposits in transition mantle
 

Robert Zwilling

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
143
#3
Saturn's hexagonal shaped clouds
I wonder if the temperature has anything to do with the capability of a hexagonal shape being formed out of swirling clouds. Bees use the hexagonal shape to store energy because it has the best area for the shortest perimeter. That is done at cool temperature, too hot and the comb would met. It acts like a crystal. I am assuming the air inside the hexagonal is being held in place, that is energy being stored in a self configuring container that must be constantly rebuilding itself. If the temperature was too warm there would be too much turbulence and the hexagonal shape would fall apart. The shape is stable and could be a form of crystallization on a massive scale. The man made examples use liquids with some
heat to get the motion going but it's still a liquid which is relatively cool compared to the gas state of the liquid.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,262
Location
Scottish Highlands
#5
Saturn's hexagonal shaped clouds
I wonder if the temperature has anything to do with the capability of a hexagonal shape being formed out of swirling clouds. Bees use the hexagonal shape to store energy because it has the best area for the shortest perimeter. That is done at cool temperature, too hot and the comb would met. It acts like a crystal. I am assuming the air inside the hexagonal is being held in place, that is energy being stored in a self configuring container that must be constantly rebuilding itself. If the temperature was too warm there would be too much turbulence and the hexagonal shape would fall apart. The shape is stable and could be a form of crystallization on a massive scale. The man made examples use liquids with some
heat to get the motion going but it's still a liquid which is relatively cool compared to the gas state of the liquid.
I think you'll find the hexagonal shape is down to the period of the standing wave that forms it. It is a similar mechanism to our polar jet stream which is also a standing wave.
 

Similar threads

Top