Saturn Rings, Moon Shine in Dazzling New NASA Photo

A new image captured by a NASA spacecraft shows Saturn’s famous rings in gorgeous detail, with one of the planet’s many moons shining in the distance.

The space agency’s Cassini probe snapped the photo on Oct. 22, 2013, when it was about 1.6 million miles (2.6 million kilometers) from Saturn and 38 degrees below the ring plane, NASA officials said. The planet’s battered “Death Star” moon Mimas is visible as a pinprick of light at the bottom right.

The photo also depicts hazy, mysterious “spokes” in Saturn’s B ring, just to the right of center.

Prosecutors: Deputy who killed unarmed teen won’t face charges

APProsecutors say they won’t file criminal charges against against a sheriff’s deputy who killed unarmed 13-year-old boy in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced that investigators concluded Deputy Erick Gelhaus fired his weapon at Andy Lopez in response to what he honestly and reasonably believed was an imminent threat of death.

Photo: An undated photo of 13-year-old Andy Lopez and the replica assault rifle he was holding when he was shot and killed in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. (File)

broke my Wal-Mart boycott last night in order to get this, but it was worth it. love the mixture of genres, the theme of spirituality throughout, and the maturity of the lyrics compared to previous albums. this will be what gets me through this week. 

Remembering Hispanic/Latino Victims of Murder/Police Brutality

Andy Lopez, 13: Killed By Police Brutality on October 22, 2013 In Santa Rosa, California By Sheriff Deputy Erick Gelhaus

The term, “police brutality” was coined by the New York Times in 1893; yet, minorities victims have felt the blunt force of billy clubs, fists and guns much earlier than that. The police’s use of excessive force isn’t new, there is a definite and pronounced history of police using violent tactics as a tool for oppression and/or coercion. There are countless cases where police officers have been accused of being the force used to keep minorities in their place, and history books overflow with details of these crimes. Violence is “repeated almost every day in (America), the police (get) away with murder, beatings, and other lawless acts – poor Blacks, Latinos, and Muslims for their faith and ethnicity their usual victims.”

Santa Rosa, Calif., Oct. 22, 2013: 13-year-old Andy Lopez was walking near a friend’s home while carrying a non-lethal airsoft gun designed to appear like an AK-47. Sheriff Deputy Erick Gelhaus of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office mistook the airsoft gun to be real, and unloaded seven bullets from his 9mm handgun into Lopez’s body within 6 second – two being fatal gun shot wounds, the bullets striking him on his side as he attempted to turn and face the sheriff. Lopez’s retired body was then handcuffed, before he pronounced dead.

Gelhaus claimed that he demanded that Lopez drop his gun, apparently feeling threatened by the manner in which Lopez had raised the BB gun, though Gelhaus couldn’t recall whether he’d identified himself as police office, beyond his uniformed appearance and arrival in a marked police cruiser.

Protestors and activists swelled in the streets following the 13-year-old’s murder. They roared with outrage, insisting that the shooting was a case of police brutality. Several movements ensued during the months following the shooting, protests even going into the new year. The largest protest was attended by 1,000 people in a downtown Santa Rosa protest, done in the form of a mass march.

On Nov. 4, Lopez’s family filed a lawsuit against Santa Rosa and Petaluma police, stating that the Deputy Erick Gelhaus fired at Lopez “without reasonable cause.”

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office concealed the name of the second deputy on the scene, citing him as a potential “witness” to the incident. The second deputy was behind the wheel of the patrol car and was on a training assignment with Gelhaus. Four days after Lopez’s death, the FBI conducted their own investigation – but declined further proceedings, concluding that the shooting was justified.

Gelhaus was initially placed on administrative leave following the shooting, but he returned to his duties in early December.

Santa Rosa and Petaluma police delivered a report on the fatal shooting of Lopez that won’t be made available to the public until agency investigators deem it necessary. The wait is apparently a part of the process when reviewing officer-related shootings. While reviews done by the district attorney are meant to follow guidelines that suggest that reviews are completed within a three month period, it usually takes four months on average. However, that happens to be a quicker turnaround under District Attorney Jill Ravitch direction, who was elected in 2010, than prior to her placement. Ravitch has stated that she will not rush her review of the incident, but promised to be “to be clear and transparent with whatever decision.”

Latinos have been prime target for hate crimes, discrimination, false incrimination, and racial profiling. Border patrol killings are an additional offense experienced by the Latino population. California, Connecticut and Arizona are the primary states where Latinos suffer the most at the hands of police officers. [Latin Post]

Shadows and Rings

Among the interplay of Saturn’s shadow and rings, Mimas, which appears in the lower-right corner of the image, orbits Saturn as a set of the ever-intriguing spokes appear in the B ring (just to the right of center).

Scientists expect that spokes will soon cease to form as Saturn approaches northern equinox. The exact mechanism of spoke formation is still the subject of debate, but ring scientists do know that spokes no longer appear when the Sun is higher in Saturn’s sky. It is believed that this has to do with the ability of micron-sized ring grains to maintain an electrical charge and levitate above the rings, forming spokes. Thus, these may be some of the last spokes ever imaged by Cassini.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 38 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 22, 2013.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.6 million miles (2.6 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 146 degrees. Image scale is 93 miles (150 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute