Mad Scientess Jane Expat (nanila) wrote,
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

Science lulz

Two fabulous moments from today's session on Saturn's rings:

  1. "Here is a colour-coded image of Saturn's rings. The brightest areas indicate regions of highest particle densities, as you can see here in the B ring. We use these pictures to get people to look at the real data."

  2. Session chair: "Let's get a question from a non-rings person."
    Non-rings person: "So, if I understand correctly, we understand most of the structure we see in the A and B rings. We've identified ringlets, satellite wakes, bending and density waves, and propellers. But none of this explains the features we see in the C ring and in the Cassini Division [a very large gap in the A ring]. Do you have any explanations for them?"*
    Silence descends. There is a good deal of shifting in seats and uncomfortable expressions.
    Rings person, plaintively addressing the session chair: "Why did you think it was a good idea to let a non-rings person ask a question?"

* Translation: "Hi! I'm not an expert in this subfield. Therefore, I consider it to be my duty to point out the gigantic freaking elephant currently standing in the corner of the room."
Tags: cassini, imperial, science
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