Thursday, October 4, 2007
I have always been a fan of The Sky at Night tv programme. It has been on the air now for 50 years and ever since I was a boy I would watch whenever I could. The programme is currently available online at the BBC website with archived shows from 2002 onwards (See Links)
I was recently catching up with this years episode's and was watching the episode entitled Stunning Saturn (march 2007). Watching this episode I was expecting a full detailed discussion of the Hexagonal formation on Saturn's Nth pole and the same treatment for the Massive Mega Eye shaped Vortex which has been imaged by Cassini on Saturn's Sth pole. (see inset)
The Hexagon formation is pictured as part of my blog profile.
Now you would think that these two formations in the atmosphere of Saturn would be of far more interest to the scientists on the show than anything else. Cassini imaged the south pole formation in 2006 and the north pole in feb / march of this year. These images were available for discussion at the time of broadcast and the pictures used on the show are from the same batch as the hexagon formation shots.
Yet the two guest scientists don't even refer to either formation at all.Prof Michelle Dougherty of the Imperial College London is the first to speak she tells us
"there's lots and lots of news but some of the most exciting news is from Saturn itself. We are beginning to get the Idea that there is a lot of weather going on on Saturn"
She then refers to an image from the Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer. The same type of image as that which is posted above of the Hexagon Formation. Now amazingly she never refers once to the north pole and begins to talk about "The String of Pearls" a new cloud formation in the cloud belts of Saturn. A string of white dots essentially, about 60,000 km long. Fascinating as this maybe, for my money it is not as important as the discovery of a Massive 25,000 km stable geometric formation in the shape of a Hexagon, not by a long shot.
Prof Dougherty goes on to explain that they may be openings in the clouds allowing us to see further into the interior of Saturn. Interestingly she does go on to say that the rotational period of Saturn does appear to be changing and that they are having difficulty measuring the rotation of Saturn. It is changing it's rate of spin over time.
Moving on to the South Pole the Aurora are discussed using an image that just shows a dark patch at the pole. The image is dated on screen as being 2007 Yet the image I have posted above is from Oct 11 2006 http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA08332
Now here's the Rub.
Sir Patrick asks "what is the black patch"
Prof Dougherty responds "probably a polar cloud of some kind".
One question. What are these people trying to hide. How is it that the two most interesting apparently natural formations on the planet in question are not discussed.
This scientist must have had access to these images yet has decided not to mention them. That is a disgrace.
Anyone who looks at the image of the 8000km across hurricane like vortex which just happened to have formed at the south pole of the planet as "Just a cloud of some kind" is in my opinion a fool of the highest order.
I like this show but now I am having my doubts as to the integrity of the people behind the production.