PBS’s science show NOVA rebroadcast their excellent April 4, 2006 episode tonight about Titan, one of over 40 moons of Saturn. The show is very informative and has an associated web site that is just marvelous. An interview with Carolyn Porco regarding Enceladus, to coincide with the recent findings by the Cassini spacecraft that large reservoirs of liquid water lie beneath its southern pole, can be found here: Dr. Porco interview. Dr. Porco is the Cassini Imaging Team Leader. It is an interesting interview posing questions to her like: How is it possible on a world that has a surface temperature of -330 degrees F that water could be spewing out of the south pole? Good question and there is a good answer in the interview.

Enceladus, Saturn’s miniature ice moon, is shown below in this enhanced, colorized image spewing out the water laden ice particles like a geyser. The episode is titled “Voyage to the Mystery Moon” and here is the link to the show’s web page: Voyage to the Mystery Moon web page.Enceladus ice geyser A complete transcript to the entire show is at this link: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3309_titan.html .

Most of the show is about Titan. There is an interactive flash graphic about the rings of Saturn. The interactive displays the following questions:

1- How old are the rings; 2- How did they form; 3- What are they made of; 4- How many rings are there; 5- How vast are they; 6- Why do they lie in one plane; 7- What makes gaps in the rings; 8- What makes bright bands in the rings; 9- Are there moons within the rings; 10- Do the rings have an atmosphere; and, 11- How did Cassini pass through the rings?

Clicking on a question brings up graphics and a side bar with the explanation posed by the question. NOVA programs always have an associated web site to further the educational value of the show and they are always great sites. This particular site I found very nicely organized and informative especially in view of the recent flybys of Titan and Enceladus made by the Cassini spacecraft. There is also an article about how planets, or in the case of Titan, moons, get and acquire their own atmosphere.

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