Gorgeous and hi-res photo’s of Saturn from the Cassini Probe

The above is a recently released  and gorgeous image of Saturns B-ring taken by the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, and it’s the highest detail photograph of Saturn’s rings to date. This year, after 19 years of service, Cassini will end its mission by burning up in Saturn’s atmosphere. RIP Cassini.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labaratory:

This image shows a region in Saturn’s outer B ring. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft viewed this area at a level of detail twice as high as it had ever been observed before.

The view here is of the outer edge of the B ring, at left, which is perturbed by the most powerful gravitational resonance in the rings: the “2:1 resonance” with the icy moon Mimas. This means that, for every single orbit of Mimas, the ring particles at this specific distance from Saturn orbit the planet twice. This results in a regular tugging force that perturbs the particles in this location.

A lot of structure is visible in the zone near the edge on the left. This is likely due to some combination of the gravity of embedded objects too small to see, or temporary clumping triggered by the action of the resonance itself. Scientists informally refer to this type of structure as “straw.”

This image was taken using a fairly long exposure, causing the embedded clumps to smear into streaks as they moved in their orbits. Later Cassini orbits will bring shorter exposures of the same region, which will give researchers a better idea of what these clumps look like. But in this case, the smearing does help provide a clearer idea of how the clumps are moving.

This image is a lightly processed version, with minimal enhancement; this version preserves all original details present in the image. Another other version (Figure 1) has been processed to remove the small bright blemishes due to cosmic rays and charged particle radiation near the planet — a more aesthetically pleasing image, but with a slight softening of the finest details.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 18, 2016. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers) from the rings and looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings. Image scale is about a quarter-mile (360 meters) per pixel.

If everyone was Kung fu fighting with kicks as fast as lightning we would all die

If for whatever reason we all started Kung Fu fighting with kicks that were as fast as lightning, we would all die:

Taken at face value, everyone would die. The forces required to accelerate limbs up to a fraction of the speed of light would give human legs accelerations in the quintillions of gees. These sorts of accelerations don’t exist anywhere in the universe; neutron star surface gravity is a snail’s pace by comparison. Macroscopic objects simply don’t move this fast. I cannot emphasize more strongly how far outside the realm of ‘plausible’ we are.

But let’s be generous. Suppose the human body could withstand these accelerations. What happens when that first kick is thrown?

The physics of one punching a meteorite

Ethan Siegel, It Starts With a Bang on Medium:

If one of these objects were destined to hit us, we presently have no way to stop it, especially if we realized it at the last minute.

So imagine there were someone who could stop it. Imagine you’re a superhero. Not a rich playboy like Batman or Iron Man; not a normal human who fell into great power like Spider-Man or The Flash; not even a hero from another world with power well beyond any Earth creature like Superman or Thor. Imagine that you’re just a normal human who’s trained hard to become the strongest hero, and from what you can tell, perhaps that’s exactly what you are. Now you’ve got to face your toughest challenge ever: a meteor the size of a small mountain is headed towards Earth, and the impact is slated to occur right in your city in a matter of seconds. When it hits, if nothing slows it down, it will release tens of thousands of Megatons’ worth of TNT of energy: the equivalent of a hundred hydrogen bombs going off all at once. And the only defense is you.

And your big, shiny, bald head.