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Cassini finally catches Helene

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/20 04:41 CDT

Cassini has finally achieved gorgeous global imaging of Helene with a spectacular flyby on Saturday, in which they got Helene to pose prettily for the camera from beginning to end of the encounter. And what a wacky, wacky world Cassini has revealed Helene to be!!

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Nearly behind Saturn

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/19 01:03 CDT

Some recent photos that Cassini took from a position nearly in Saturn's shadow caught my eye, and I made a quick color composite. What an amazing view this would be if you were riding on the spacecraft!

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Lots of great stuff in the latest Cassini data release

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/13 04:56 CDT

I've got some lovely pictures from Saturn to show you! Every three months, the Cassini mission dumps gigabytes worth of precious Saturn data into the Planetary Data System, and the latest gift came on April 1. This particular pile of data, which was taken between April 1 and June 30, 2010, contains a lot of really terrific moon observations.

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Having some fun with Curiosity's pretty face (plus, a conversation about Curiosity with a 4-year-old)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/08 12:03 CDT

The photo I took of Curiosity's "face" and posted on Monday seems to have tickled a lot of people. I understand it's the subject of a "Photoshop this Mars rover" challenge at Fark, and a couple of the guys over at unmannedspaceflight.com have been having a field day with it.

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LPSC 2011: Wanted: Pioneer 10 & 11 digital data

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/11 01:39 CST

This is both a Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) update and a public service announcement. Ted Stryk has been working for years to locate the original Pioneer 10 and 11 image data from the Jupiter and Saturn encounters.

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Pretty picture: Viking 1 across Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/09 10:10 CST

Image magician Daniel Macháček has been turning his energies to Viking Orbiter views of Mars lately, with some stunning results, like the one below. I'm not sure how he makes images that look so sharp and clean and with such rich color out of the Viking Orbiter data.

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Pretty picture: Saturn storm

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/08 10:46 CST

To relieve this week's text-heavy LPSC posts, here's a brief one on an incredible panorama across Saturn's northern storm, taken on February 26 by Cassini and assembled by unmannedspaceflight.com member "Astro0."

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Some recent pictures of Saturn's northern storm

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/07 04:35 CST

There is a huge storm that's spreading across so much of Saturn that it's been readily visible even from Earth-based telescopes. Over the past couple of days a couple of new images of Saturn have appeared that show just how enormous the storm is today.

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Io and Jupiter from Voyager 1

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/31 03:14 CST

Here's an image I've been meaning to post for months, a new mosaic from Voyager 1 by Ted Stryk of Io crossing Jupiter's terminator as it neared closest approach.

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Uranus and Challenger

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/28 09:21 CST

In the past week there have been 25th anniversaries of two events in 1986, one great, one terrible: the closest approach of Voyager 2 to Uranus on January 24, and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger upon liftoff on January 28.

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Butterfly crater on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/27 05:32 CST

I've spent the day noodling around in the current issue of Icarus, following up some of the more interesting stories within its table of contents, and came across a picture of this very cool crater -- actually, set of craters -- on Mars.

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Animation of Phobos rotating from recent Mars Express flyby images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/25 10:18 CST

Daniel Macháček has colorized some terrific images of Phobos and run them through some morphing software to make a seamless animation that appears to show Phobos rotating before you.

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Two fine color Cassini animations: Prometheus rotating, Tethys and Dione dancing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/20 11:23 CST

Daniel Macháček has reached into the dark side of Prometheus and pulled out an incredible amount of detail where the potato-shaped moon is illuminated by Saturnshine. He produced an animation that morphs among the three sets of four-filter color images that Cassini snapped during the flyby.

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Opportunity drives within 20 meters of Santa Maria, spots alligator's tail

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/15 02:40 CST

Today Opportunity has driven to within 20 meters of Santa Maria crater, and the blocks around it are really, really cool-looking. This one is a dead ringer for the severed tail of an alligator.

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Opportunity: "So close we can taste it" to Santa Maria

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/14 01:18 CST

Opportunity is on a kilometers-long eastward road trip across Meridiani Planum toward the rim of a large ancient crater named Endeavour; it'll be many months yet before she gets there.

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Opportunity bags a few craters

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/10 04:46 CST

In the last few days, Opportunity's passed by several craters, and the rover drivers took advantage of the chance encounters for what they call "drive-by shooting" (a phrase I can't say I'm particularly fond of, but they didn't ask me).

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Opportunity rolls up to Oileán Ruaidh

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/22 05:17 CDT

Opportunity is continuing to make tracks toward Endeavour crater, but just because she's got a goal for her road trip doesn't mean she won't stop and smell the flowers from time to time. Er, did I say "flowers?" I meant "meteorites."

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An unusual Hubble photo of Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/17 05:20 CDT

Amateur image magician Ted Stryk dug up this lovely view of Mars, captured on May 9, 2003 by the Hubble Space Telescope. This photo is unusual for its relatively high phase.

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Opportunity's rocky road ahead, good news for an aging rover

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/15 04:38 CDT

What a difference a couple of months of driving make. Here's the sort of view of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's road ahead that I'm accustomed to, taken two months ago.

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A first look at distant hills

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/08/25 12:36 CDT

Rover fans have been excitedly watching the hills on Opportunity's horizon grow taller and taller as Opportunity rolls toward its destination, Endeavour crater.

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