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Astronomy Picture of the Day
  • The Colors of Saturn from Cassini 
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, JPL, ISS, Cassini Imaging Team; Processing & License: Judy Schmidt
Explanation: What creates Saturn's colors? The featured picture of Saturn only slightly exaggerates what a human would see if hovering close to the giant ringed world. The image was taken in 2005 by the robot Cassini spacecraft that orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017. Here Saturn's majestic rings appear directly only as a curved line, appearing brown, in part, from its infrared glow. The rings best show their complex structure in the dark shadows they create across the upper part of the planet. The northern hemisphere of Saturn can appear partly blue for the same reason that Earth's skies can appear blue -- molecules in the cloudless portions of both planet's atmospheres are better at scattering blue light than red. When looking deep into Saturn's clouds, however, the natural gold hue of Saturn's clouds becomes dominant. It is not known why southern Saturn does not show the same blue hue -- one hypothesis holds that clouds are higher there. It is also not known why some of Saturn's clouds are colored gold.
This Day in History
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    In 1492, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castille conquered the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, finally freeing Spain from Muslim rule after nearly 800 years. Not long after, the monarchs, whose marriage and conquests cemented Spain as a unified kingdom, issued the Alhambra Decree, ...Continue reading
  • Evidence of murder is uncovered in New Mexico
    Law enforcement officers in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, began digging for evidence near the mobile home of David Parker Ray and Cynthia Lea Hendy after more evidence came to light about the couple’s activities. On March 22, a twenty-two year old woman was found running naked, except for a padlocked ...Continue reading
  • Treaty of Kanagawa signed with Japan
    In Tokyo, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, signs the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan. In July 1853, Commodore Perry sailed ...Continue reading