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New Mexico State University

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NMSU astronomer to discuss latest findings on Saturn and its moons

New Mexico State University astronomer Reta Beebe will discuss the Cassini mission to Saturn and its moons during a public presentation at 8 p.m. Friday, March 25, in Room 106 of Hardman Hall on the NMSU main campus.

talk is being presented as part of the spring meeting of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), hosted by the NMSU Department of Astronomy.

The international Cassini-Huygens spacecraft arrived at Saturn last June and entered into orbit around the ringed planet. In December and January, the Huygens probe separated from Cassini and parachuted to the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. More recently the Cassini spacecraft has had close encounters with another moon, Enceladus.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

Beebe, one of the world's leading experts on the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn, chairs the Committee on Lunar and Planetary Exploration for the National Academies of Science. She manages the Atmospheres Discipline Node at NMSU, a part of NASA's Planetary Data System.

Scientists and amateur astronomers will gather in Las Cruces March 20-26 for a High-Energy Astrophysics Workshop and the spring meeting of the AAVSO. The workshop is sponsored by NMSU, the AAVSO, NASA, Sonoma State University and the Curry Foundation.