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What's up in the solar system in March 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/28 02:43 CST

I don't think there's any question what the big event of this month will be: MESSENGER is finally, finally entering orbit at Mercury on March 18 at 00:45 UTC (March 17 at 16:45 for me).

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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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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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Goodies from the January 11 Rhea flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/12 10:44 CST

Cassini got some incredibly tricky shots during its January 11 Rhea flyby!

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A Martian Moment in Time, revisited

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/12 02:30 CDT

A good start to my day today: The New York Times' Lens Blog featured the "Martian Moment in Time" photo that Opportunity took last week in a really nice writeup. I'm so grateful, and still a little surprised, that the folks on the Mars Exploration Rover mission took this idea and ran with it!

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Radar glories in Titan rivers

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/11 04:53 CDT

Wow, this is a cool paper. Here's the gist: the Cassini RADAR team has spotted some river channels on Titan that shine so brightly in radar images, there must be something special going on to explain that brightness.

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Saturn's hexagon recreated in the laboratory

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/04 12:32 CDT | 8 comments

A lot of readers have expressed interest in the origin of Saturn's north polar hexagon. The hexagon is a long-lived pattern in the clouds surrounding Saturn's north pole, which has been observed since the Voyagers passed by in 1980 and 1981.

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Titan and Dione: The same, but different

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/22 05:29 CDT

Here's a new lovely color composition of Titan and Dione captured by Cassini. This one was taken on April 20, 2010; a set of 15 raw images taken of the two moons just showed up on the Cassini raw images website.

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A calming Titan

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/19 03:35 CDT

Usually I like Mondays, but today I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed, I look at pictures from Cassini.

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Cassini Aegaeon and Prometheus awesomeness

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/28 12:38 CST

There were many, many treats waiting on the Cassini raw images website this morning. Yesterday, Cassini traversed the G ring, taking photos all the way.

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Figuring out the shape of Mars (and other places)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/19 01:31 CST

An amateur named Bernhard Braun ("nirgal" on unmannedspaceflight) has been posting the results from a new piece of software he's developed that generates 3-D models of landscapes from single photos.

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Highlights from the January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/13 03:43 CST

The January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release includes everything acquired by Cassini from January 1 to March 30, 2009 in all its high-quality glory.

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What's up in the solar system in January 2010

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/04 01:29 CST

While we don't have Moon bases, we do have plenty of spacecraft. Before I get into my more detailed look at the activities of the 20-odd spacecraft wandering about the solar system, I thought I'd look ahead to 2010 more generally and see what the year has in store for us.

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Cassini VIMS sees the long-awaited glint off a Titan lake

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/17 04:28 CST

The Cassini mission announced today the first observation of a specular reflection off of a lake on Titan. A specular reflection is a mirror-like flash, and you only get one when you have a mirror-like surface -- very, very smooth.

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Opportunity's poking at Marquette Island; Cassini's catching dancing moons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/18 04:58 CST

Since tomorrow's class is going to be on playing with raw images from the rovers and Cassini, I've been playing with recent raw images from the rovers and Cassini! I just thought I'd share a couple of the fun items I've been working with.

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