back to article LARGEST BELCH EVER SEEN devastates gassy GIANT Saturn

A titanic storm wracking the atmosphere of Saturn, ringed giant planet of the outer Solar System, resulted in an "unprecedented belch of energy" and an associated super-enormous emission of ethylene gas "the origin of which is a mystery", according to NASA boffins. "This temperature spike is so extreme it's almost unbelievable …


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  1. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge

    Ah but

    Was there a cosmic giant with a match to light this fart?

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

      Re: Ah but

      If a planet farts and no one is there to hear it, does it stink?

    2. Shagbag

      Not a patch on my wife in the morning

      Her guts would give that a run for its money.

      1. asdf

        Re: Not a patch on my wife in the morning

        Congratulations you are THAT guy that took the joke far beyond the pale. Shagbag wins the Friday ass hat of day award by a landslide.

        1. jonathan1

          Re: Not a patch on my wife in the morning

          Ass hat, a phrase that always makes me chuckle thank you!

  2. The last doughnut

    Fascinating to hear that the gas eruption was odourless. I would expect something a lot more eggy.

  3. Mike Flugennock

    "LARGEST BELCH EVER SEEN devastates gassy GIANT Saturn"


    Colossal entendre eructation 'bigger than Benny Hill'

  4. Richard Wharram


    Arthur C Clarke should never have allowed Kubrick to change the setting to Jupiter as the monoliths are clearly about to turn Saturn into a small star.

    1. Ian Oliver 1

      Re: Monoliths?

      Actually Clarke 2001 was set in the Saturnian system: the moon Iapetus specifically...

      The move to Jupiter was made for the film 2001 with Kubrick and this continued in subsequent books. Interestingly there came the idea of life on Jupiter's moon Europa which is believed to host a sea under a thick shell of ice: water being the key ingredient for life.

      In a bizarre twist that only the University could think of, turns out they could have stayed at Saturn with evidence for water (and organic compounds) at Enceladus...

      1. Mike Flugennock

        Re: Monoliths?

        Actually Clarke 2001 was set in the Saturnian system: the moon Iapetus specifically...

        The move to Jupiter was made for the film 2001 with Kubrick and this continued in subsequent books.

        Stop me if I'm wrong, but wasn't that decision made for special effects reasons; i.e., they couldn't create a satisfactorily realistic effect for the ring plane?

        1. Rick Giles

          Re: Monoliths?

          From the "Silent Running (1972)" wiki page:

          "Trumbull had been involved with creating effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Director Stanley Kubrick wanted the Stargate sequence of that film to be centered around Saturn, but there were technical difficulties in getting the special effects for it finished in the limited timeframe. The Saturn idea was scrapped, and Kubrick substituted Jupiter instead. Trumbull developed the sequence after production, and it was recreated for Saturn in Silent Running"

  5. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    A major malfunction at a Saturnian plastic toys factory...

  6. Steven 1

    "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @Steven 1

      That could really have gone somewhere........but it didn't. I read through it all, and no punchline.

    2. Soruk

      No one would have believed....

      ... that I read through all of that looking for the joke.

      1. Hilibnist

        Oh come on...

        ...there was a War of the Worlds before Jeff Wayne, you know.

        But fair play to you, I prefer Jeff's version too.

    3. Captain DaFt

      And the Saturnian's have developed an answer to humanity... the Ethylene Bomb!

      Dun dun DUN!

      Now kwitcherbitchin about a punchline, OK?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I prefer Richard Burton's version from the musical :

      No-one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space.

      No-one could have dreamed we were being scrutinized as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets. And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immesurably superior to ours, regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us.

      Dum, dum dum.......

    5. Marshalltown

      I think that

      ... better allusion would have been to the movie version of Starship Troopers, or possibly the bugblatter beast of trawl.

      1. Colin Brett

        Re: I think that

        "possibly the bugblatter beast of trawl."



  7. Tom_

    Make your mind up

    "...the peak temperature was only 220 Kelvin (minus 53°C or 63°F)."

    Come on.

  8. frank ly

    " ..the (odourless) gas ethylene."

    According to Wikipedia, it has a faint sweet and musky odour. Maybe that is at normal earth temperatures though and it has no odour at 220 K. Has this been tested on a human subject?

    1. Jan 0

      Re: " ..the (odourless) gas ethylene."

      Wikipedia? Does nobody else remember the smell of ethylene from organic chemistry practicals? (A bag of ripe bananas might reawaken the memory.)

      I don't know how you propose to smell anything at 220K. The worry that my nose might break off would outweigh any desire to sniff.

  9. ContentsMayVary

    I'm soooo glad it wasn't Uranus.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      No you aren't

      Just admit the depth of your disappointment.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My god, they have atomic weapons

    Still have not learned open air (well sorta) testing is bad.

  11. Winkypop Silver badge

    Maybe it's a signal

    "Send more poppadums, beer and pick us up a kebab along the way..."

    (It would explain all the gas)

  12. S2S


    Saturn, the one with the giant rings, so why is the headline featuring a photo of Jupiter?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: ?

      Oh you!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wounding a plant induces ethylene production. Perhaps Saturn is a giant plant and something wounded it?

  14. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge


    Overheard at a wake near Barnard's Star...

    "So Zarg said he knew a hyperspace short-cut through the Sol system that saved 50 zels..."

    "Nobody realised he'd been drinking Djinn Entonix all diurnal anomaly when he climbed into the starship..."

    "I said that new red uniform was a mistake..."

    "He was only three days from retirement..."

  15. Local G

    I have always said

    Belches should be seen and not heard

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe it could be recycled into something useful, like plastic bags.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, do they know for sure

    that a load of ethylene came out of it?

    Did maybe something full of ethylene go *into* it?

  18. Robin 1

    Must be global warming...

    Hopefully the fine folks on Saturn will smarten up and enact a global emissions reduction policy...

  19. scarshapedstar

    So you're saying the climate changed

    And man wasn't responsible!

    Checkmate, warmists.

  20. Crisp

    What does brobdingnagian mean?

    Why, it's the opposite of lilliputian of course!

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