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Watch Saturn's storms spin with VIMS

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/28 01:15 CDT

A lot of attention has been paid recently to a storm in Saturn's northern hemisphere that is large and bright enough to be visible from Earth, but Saturn's atmosphere actually features lots more swirling storms. They can be hard to see, at least in visible wavelengths.

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Outside scientists being invited in to Cassini mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/20 10:09 CDT

NASA announced last week the start of a Participating Scientist program for Cassini, which is big news, for outer planets scientists anyway. Lots and lots of other missions have participating scientist programs, from big missions like Mars Science Laboratory to little ones like Dawn; but this is the first time for Cassini, which is kind of surprising given that it's been almost seven years since it arrived at Saturn.

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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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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's up in the second quarter of 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/07 11:16 CDT

Regular readers of this blog will find the content of today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast familiar, because it's an update on what the solar system exploration spacecraft are up to, based on my monthly "what's up" updates.

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What's up in the solar system in April 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/31 03:59 CDT

April 2011 will see MESSENGER begin the science phase of its orbital mission at Mercury, and should, I think, also see the start of Dawn's approach observations of Vesta. At Mars, Opportunity is back on the road again, rolling inexorably toward Endeavour. At Saturn, Cassini will continue its focus on Saturn and Titan science.

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Evidence for rain on Titan

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/22 04:40 CDT

Last week, Zibi Turtle and Jason Perry and a dozen other coauthors published a paper in Science discussing evidence for rain on Titan.

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LPSC 2011: Day 4: Ted Stryk on icy moons and The Moon

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2011/03/17 11:22 CDT

Here are Ted Stryk's notes from the sessions he attended in the afternoon of Thursday, March 10, at the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

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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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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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Bye bye, Kodachrome, but "Kodak moments" will live on in space

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/31 08:04 CST

This week is the end for Kodachrome film. It's a casualty of the digital revolution.

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The Year in Pictures: 2010

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/30 03:28 CST

I've just posted my annual roundup of significant images from planetary exploration in 2010.

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Door 28 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/28 08:37 CST

Time to open the twenty-eighth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this cratered and streaked surface?

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Door 25 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/25 12:25 CST

Time to open the twenty-fifth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these conjoined craters?

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Mimas wanders in to view

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/21 02:53 CST

Cassini's busy downlinking photos from yesterday's close pass by Enceladus, including some neat shots of Dione and this one where Mimas skipped briefly in to the field of view.

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Door 20 in the 2010 advent calendar (special news update)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/20 11:07 CST

Time to open the twentieth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this diffuse blob and stripy sea?

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Door 10 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/10 03:40 CST

Time to open the tenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this jumble of bouldery fissures?

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Door 6 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/06 12:48 CST

Time to open the sixth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these snowy slopes?

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