Storms on Earth, Fire on Saturn


In this triptych, you see Saturn, the flamboyant Liberace of our solar system. On the left, it’s the familiar Saturn.

In the middle image, you see a shocking view of Saturn incinerating, burning up completely, until all that remains in the right picture is a wasted ember, a sad, pathetic remnant of a once mighty planet, its rings dark, dead.

Of course, Saturn is still out there, just Saturning along. It’s still tilted at a jaunty 26 degrees like Sinatra’s fedora, and it rotates once every 10 hours 45 minutes or so.

This triptych’s left picture is a visible light image shot from Australia. The middle and right images are thermal infrared and middle-infrared, showing activity at different levels of the Saturnian atmosphere, specifically the massive storm system in the planet’s northern latitudes.

Here on our planet, this past week has been just horrible, with the massacres in Norway, a talented young artist dying at 27, and a bunch of jackasses in Washington who seem to forget they work for us. (Ostensibly)

I’ve had a horrible week myself, with medcoma and deep depressions.

This world has suffered worse weeks, as have I. It would be easy to look at the middle picture and see a planet in flames. It would be easy to see the right picture, and lament that Saturn has burned up.  It’s the same Saturn in all three, just through different eyes.

Our world will recover. Maybe we’ll learn how better to spot murdering psycho lunatics like Anders Harvey Breivik before they kill. Maybe somebody will look at Amy Winehouse, and say “Yes!” to rehab. Maybe the Beltway Jackasses will look at those fighting and dying for freedom in the Middle East, and stop acting like Congressional budget talks are some kind of farkakte game at Honky Hills Country Club’s casino night.

As time passes, we’ll analyze this tempestuous past week. People Smarter Than Tom will look at our storms; they’ll look at events through different eyes at different levels, and maybe we’ll gain some soupçon of understanding.

If not, if my lovely metaphor breaks down, we can always use Saturn as a ginormous pool float.

Happy Friday. And let’s be careful out there.

(Thanks to Jay Major, former Voxer turned Astrology Guru Astronomy blogger extraordinaire. I think I saw this image first on his site. Visit him at )


12 Responses to “Storms on Earth, Fire on Saturn”

  1. I do love the periodic returns of Comet Tom.

    • Awww. You remembered my comet post. *blush* 😀

      I saw these three views, and I had to find some excuse to post the pic. Thanks for stopping by (or whooshing close enough to visit)

  2. I visit “Lights in the Dark” when I’m fed up with living on this planet. Gazing at the stars in the sky seems to be the one good thing about this summer.

    I’m sorry you’re feeling down this week, tom. There hasn’t been much good news this week, no. (And I almost want to launch into Amy’s chorus, “No no no!”) But I’m awfully glad we share this universe. What’s that song about every little star must shine? I shine a little more when I read your posts. 🙂

    • Thanks Professor Gozen. One “person” I recommend you follow on Twitter is @Voyager2

      It’s THAT Voyager 2, and it gives daily updates on its and Voyager 1’s distances from earth. When I read that Voyager 1 is 16 hours and 15 minutes of light travel time from earth, I sometimes wish I were there with it. I think about how far that is, how distant from hearth & home. Then my mind comes back here. I take a deep breath, and get on with it.

      For me, it’s my little moment of Zen each day.

      Happy Friday, Professor Gozen. (Note: I mean you should follow @Voyager2 on Twitter, not go hurtling past Neptune chasing it)

  3. Just strap on your hot pink shoes and kick the shit’s aß, deår frjénd! If we have to duct tape four pairs together for each of your feet, we WILL have you kicking ass and taking names in all your fluorescent glory.

  4. Sorry to hear you’ve had a bad week. I thought the medcomas had been managed.

    Jay’s Twitter is good to follow, too. I don’t know how he gets any work done, he’s so busy Tweeting awesome stuff to it all the time

    • Medcoma was solved. We had a relapse due to our prescription provider losing a scrip. Oops. All is well now, except this damned ear infection.

      I’ve had the same thought! Jay’s always tweeting awesome stuff, and I’m sure there’s a selection process. I love that he’s taken his passion and run with it, all the way to the NASA Tweet-Up for the final shuttle launch. Good stuff. Now if only he made cupcakes. 😉

  5. christinaheart Says:

    I think we need more Toms in the world. I think that would make the world a better place. 🙂

  6. Awesome!!! I shared on Facebook and it tried to make me type a tilde’ in the anti-bot box. Luckily the tilde’ wasn’t mandatory cuz I couldn’t do it. 😛

    • I hate when they do that. It’s easy to type an ñ on the DorkFone: you just hold down the n for a second, and it brings up a screen offering you ñ, ń, and ň. Touch the one you want, and rock on. Ő kinda looks like Cookie Monster to me. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by.

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