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Tech & Science Saturn’s ice moon Enceladus has icy ‘tiger stripes,’ and scientists just figured out why

12:36  11 december  2019
12:36  11 december  2019 Source:   bgr.com

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The Moon is a vast ocean covered by an icy shell, and NASA’ s Cassini mission offered intriguing glimpses of huge liquid water geysers erupting into space Enceladus is instantly recognizable thanks to its bold blue “ tiger stripes ,” which run parallel to each other across the moon ’ s south pole.

Of all the places in our solar system where life might be hiding, the icy moon of Saturn ' s Enceladus could be the most enticing. The Moon is a vast ocean Which extend parallel to each other across the south pole of the moon . Researchers have long wondered why this model has emerged, and after

a close up of a stone wall: enceladus © Provided by Penske Media Corporation enceladus

Of all the places in our solar system where life might be hiding out, Saturn’s frosty moon Enceladus might be the most tantalizing. The Moon is a vast ocean covered by an icy shell, and NASA’s Cassini mission offered intriguing glimpses of huge liquid water geysers erupting into space through cracks in the thick ice.

Enceladus is instantly recognizable thanks to its bold blue “tiger stripes,” which run parallel to each other across the moon’s south pole. Researchers have long wondered why this pattern emerged, and after carefully considering the possibilities and looking at all the available data, they think they’ve come up with the answer.

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Scientists have developed an explanation for one of the most striking features of Enceladus , an A false-color mosaic of Saturn ’ s moon Enceladus , taken during a 2008 fly-by by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft The tiger stripes ’ even spacing is simply a result of the ice ’s elasticity and its thickness

In Photos: Enceladus , Saturn ' s Icy , Shiny Moon Related: Saturn ' s Moon Enceladus Is Likely the 'Perfect Age' to Harbor Life. An up-close look at the tiger stripes on The moon isn't frozen solid, because the gravitational changes caused by its eccentric orbit around Saturn stretches it out slightly.

In a new study published in Nature Astronomy, a team of researchers at Carnegie Science offers their best guesses as to how the stripes formed, and why they persist over time.

“First seen by the Cassini mission to Saturn, these stripes are like nothing else known in our Solar System,” Doug Hemingway, who led the research, explains. “They are parallel and evenly spaced, about 130 kilometers long and 35 kilometers apart. What makes them especially interesting is that they are continually erupting with water ice, even as we speak. No other icy planets or moons have anything quite like them.”

Based on what we know about Enceladus, it’s believed that the ice near the poles of the moon is thinner than elsewhere on the frosty orb. As temperatures on the moon change gradually over time, lower temperatures lead to the freezing of the ocean below the surface. Water expands when it freezes, placing greater stress on the outer layer of ice, and eventually that stress causes the ice to fracture.

As for why the cracks appear on the south pole of the moon, the researchers say that it may just be random chance. The relief of the pressure from below could have caused cracks to form at either of the poles, and the fact that the cracks appear at the south pole is “a bit of a coin toss.”

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Bright star pulses reveal when Milky Way devoured another galaxy .
New measurements suggest the Milky Way gobbled up Gaia-Enceladus when it was just a fledgling baby galaxy.New research, published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Jan. 13, using data obtained from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite and a handful of ground-based telescopes, has helped astronomers refine the date of the cannibalism once more. The international collaboration of over 80 scientists studied a single, very bright star approximately 95 light-years from Earth known as "ν Indi," which can be seen with the naked eye.

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