Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2006 January 27
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

A New Storm on Saturn
Credit & Copyright: Erick Bondoux, Jean-Luc Dauvergne

Explanation: Presently at opposition in planet Earth's sky, Saturn is well placed for telescopic observations. On Wednesday two amateur astronomers took full advantage of the situation from Melun, near Paris, France. With a 12 inch diameter telescope and web cam they recorded this sharp image of the ringed gas giant and made an exciting discovery -- a new storm on Saturn. The storm appears as the white spot visible here in Saturn's southern hemisphere (south is toward the top in the picture). In particular, the storm seems to correspond with an outburst of radio noise detected by the Cassini spacecraft. The phenomenon is likely similar to the Dragon Storm recorded by Cassini's instruments early last year. That storm is thought to be analogous to a terrestrial thunderstorm, with radio noise produced in high-voltage lightning discharges.

Tomorrow's picture: Saturnday

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