astrophsyics

Map of Mimas

The colors shown in these global mosaics are enhanced, or broader, relative to human vision, extending into the ultraviolet and infrared range.

Apart from the moon’s enormous impact crater, named Herschel, a dramatic feature on these maps is the equatorial band on Mimas’ leading hemisphere. Cassini found this band to be significantly brighter in the ultraviolet than surrounding terrains, and it appears somewhat bluish here. This feature, similar to one on Tethys, was found to correlate with the predicted pattern of bombardment of the moons’ surfaces by high-energy electrons trapped in Saturn’s magnetic field. This bombardment is thought to alter the surface ices on a crystalline scale and change their color. Later thermal observations by Cassini’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) instrument showed that these features also form thermal anomalies on the surface, giving rise to the nickname “Pac-Man” features (seePIA16198).

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Lunar and Planetary Institute

For those interested in citizen science

Check out BOINC, a program by the University of Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory. It’s a passive program that runs while your computer is idle and processes scientific data. You simply go to the site linked, download the program, then sign up on a team: these range from geology, disease, astrophysics, to SETI@home, the original BOINC project- it sifts through radio waves in space to look for anything that could be an alien signal. 

You’re helping out the science community by letting your computer just sit there. Download it; it’s free. Also, the link underline isn’t showing, but the link is on the first time you read BOINC. Click there