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Astronomy 2e

For Further Exploration

Astronomy 2eFor Further Exploration



Cable, M. & Spilker, L. “The Enigma of Enceladus.” Astronomy (SepteSky & Telescope): 50. On the evidence for oceans and possible life.

Cable, M. “What Does Titan Smell Like.” Sky & Telescope (September 2020): 28. On the conditions and chemistry there.

Carroll, M. “Titan: What We’ve Learned about a Strange New World.” Sky & Telescope (March 2010): 30. Nice review of Cassini mission results.

Carroll, M. “Voyage to the Bottom of an Alien Sea.” Sky & Telescope (July 2018): 44. Exploring Europa and Titan with submarines.

Consolmagno, G. & Graney, C. “Slipping on Jupiter’s Moons.” Sky & Telescope (October 2020): 34. A history of how we discovered the properties of Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

Davies, A. “Io, the Volcanic Rosetta Stone.” Sky & Telescope (July 2020): 14. Good review of what we know about Jupiter’s innermost large moon.

Elliot, J. “The Warming Wisps of Triton.” Sky & Telescope (February 1999): 42. About Neptune’s intriguing moon.

Hayes, A., “Secrets from Titan’s Seas.” Sky & Telescope (October 2015): 24. Good review of what we now know and what puzzles us about the hydrocarbon lakes of Titan.

Horst, S. “Titan’s Veil.” Sky & Telescope (February 2019): 22. What the Cassini/Huygens mission revealed about conditions on the giant moon.

Johnson-Groh, M. “How We Might Find Life on Europa.” Sky & Telescope (September 2019): 30. On why we think there might be life there and how future missions will look for it.

Lopes, R. “Ice Volcanoes.” Sky & Telescope (August 2020): 32. Survey of several giant planet moons.

Redd, N. “What Lies Beneath Triton’s Ice.” Sky & Telescope (September 2019): 56. On the geysers on this moon and what they might tell us about a possible ocean.

Robertson, D. “Where Goes the Rain?” Sky & Telescope (March 2013): 26. About the methane weather cycle on Titan and what Cassini experiments are telling us.

Scharf, C. “A Universe of Dark Oceans.” Sky & Telescope (December 2014): 20. Subsurface oceans on Europa, Ganymede, Enceladus, and Titan.

Showalter, M. “How to Catch a Moon (or Two) of Pluto.” Sky & Telescope Beat (December 2012): On the discovery of small moons around Pluto, written by the person who discovered two of them.

Skuse, B. “Ocean Underworlds.” Sky & Telescope (April 2022): 14. About the large moons that may have an underground ocean, like Europa and Ganymede.

Spencer, J. “Galileo’s Closest Look at Io.” Sky & Telescope (May 2001): 40.

Talcott, R. “Cassini Flies through Enceladus’ Geysers.” Sky & Telescope (March 2009): 32.


Nimmo, F. “Life’s Prospects on Pluto.” Sky & Telescope (September 2019): 62. On whether Pluto might be a habitable world, possibly with a subsurface ocean.

Stern, A. “Pluto: Up Close and Personal.” Sky & Telescope (July 2015): 22. Good summary of the history of understanding Pluto and our current knowledge on the eve of the New Horizons encounter.

Stern, A. “Return to Pluto.” Sky & Telescope (December 2019): 20. A bit about New Horizons and then discussion of possible future missions.

Stern, A. “The Pluto System Explored.” Sky & Telescope (November 2015): 24. Fine review of what the team learned from the first few data downloads from New Horizons.

Tombaugh, C. “How I Found Pluto.” Sky & Telescope Beat (May 2009):


Beatty, J. “Saturn’s Amazing Rings.” Sky & Telescope (May 2013): 18. Good 7-page summary of what we know.

Elliot, J., et al. “Discovering the Rings of Uranus.” Sky & Telescope (June 1977): 412.

Esposito, L. “The Changing Shape of Planetary Rings.” Sky & Telescope (September 1987): 6.

Sheehan, W. “Seeing Saturn’s Ring Spokes.” Sky & Telescope (August 2022): 28. History of observations of ring structure from the ground and space.

Tiscareno, M. “Ringworld Revelations.” Sky & Telescope (February 2007): 32. Cassini results about the rings of Saturn.



Cassini Mission to Saturn: and and

Jupiter’s Moons, at JPL:

NASA’s Europa Clipper Mission:

Neptune’s Moons, at JPL:

Saturn’s Moons, at JPL:

The JUICE Mission to Explore Jupiter’s icy moons, at the European Space Agency:

The Planetary Society’s “Worlds” web pages include a page about Pluto, Io, Europa, Enceladus, Titan, and Triton:

The proposed Dragonfly Mission to fly a rotorcraft that explores Titan:

Uranus’ Moons, at JPL:


History of Pluto (Lowell Observatory):

New Horizons Mission to Pluto: Provides information and images from the Pluto encounter, plus lots of background information.

Pluto and the Developing Landscape of our Solar System: Information and explanation from the International Astronomical Union, the “U.N. of astronomy,” which reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet.

Pluto, at JPL:


NASA Rings Node: Most of this website is technical, for scientists, but if you use the menu at left to go to each ring-moon system, you can find images and press releases from the relevant exploratory missions.

NASA Science Site on Saturn’s Rings:



Amazing Moons: 2016 NASA video on intriguing moons in our solar system, such as Enceladus, Titan, Europa, and Io (4:16).

Briny Breath of Enceladus: Brief film on the geysers of Enceladus and what is emerging from within the moon (2:36).

Could a Saturn Moon Harbor Life: Carolyn Porco gives a brief, personal introduction at TED to the geysers her team discovered on Enceladus (3:26).

Europa: Ocean World: Planetary scientist Kevin Hand explains why Europa is so interesting for future exploration (4:12).

Juno Mission Flies Past the Moon Ganymede and Jupiter: Flyover movie from Juno data, with captions and music, showing remarkable details (3:59).

Ocean Worlds: Science@NASA video discusses moons with possible underground oceans in the outer solar system: Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Enceladus, Ceres, and more (5:50).

Phase Changes: Triton Geysers: Nice student video explaining the geysers on Neptune’s moon Triton; with a brief experiment that demonstrates a crucial part of the story (3:39).

Soaring Over Titan: Colorized movie from Cassini images: a flyover of the hydrocarbon lakes (1:27).

Titan: A video from Open University in England, with interviews, animations, images from the Cassini/Huygens exploration of Saturn’s moon (8:11).

Titan Approach Movie: Narrated tour, with the images taken by Cassini and Huygens (3:23).

What Huygens Saw on Titan: A reprocessed and improved 2015 video showing images recorded during the descent of the Huygens Probe and explaining conditions on Titan (4:49).


Charon Flyover Movie: New Horizons images are made into a silent animation of the terrain on Pluto’s large moon (1:05).

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming: Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture by Michael Brown on the “demotion” of Pluto to a dwarf planet, which his discoveries helped bring about (1:27:13).

New Horizons Discoveries Keep Coming:  Reviews New Horizon mission Pluto discoveries and previews its flyby of MU69 (now called Arrokoth) (4:00).

New Horizons Flyover of Pluto: New Horizons images are made into a dramatic animation of what the spacecraft cameras saw on Pluto; no narration (1:59).

Pluto in a Minute Video Series: Each of these brief 1–2-minute videos, hosted by science writer and space historian, Amy Shira Teitel, illuminates one aspect of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and its five moons. There are 32 videos in total.

Reflections on Clyde Tombaugh: Video remembering the discoverer of Pluto, featuring his children (7:41).

Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart: Dramatic New York Times production of a flight over Pluto and Charon, narrated by their astronomy reporter Dennis Overbye. Has VR option. (7:43).


F Ring Shepherd Moons: A very brief movie sequence showing the two moons on either side of Saturn’s F ring and the waves they raise in the ring’s structure.

Saturn’s Restless Rings: 2013 talk by Mark Showalter in the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series (1:30:59).

Saturn’s Rings May be a Recent Addition: Interviews with key scientists describe why the Cassini mission results imply that Saturn’s rings look surprisingly fresh and young. (3:22)

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