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Titan crater and programming note

Emily Lakdawalla • September 02, 2011

The summer is winding to a close but it's not quite over for me -- by which I mean my children -- yet.

Holey Hyperion!

Emily Lakdawalla • August 26, 2011

Yesterday Cassini passed unusually close by Hyperion, the oddly shaped moon that orbits Saturn just beyond Titan. Among the many cool images captured during this flyby were three that I used to make this neato view of Hyperion's crescent.

Pretty picture: Saturn from very close up

Emily Lakdawalla • August 24, 2011

I haven't checked in on Cassini lately. I went to the raw images page and found the frames for this very lovely, very close view of Saturn. It was taken by Cassini two days ago, as it was approaching periapsis.

Pretty picture: five moons for Cassini

Emily Lakdawalla • August 03, 2011

Explaining how to combine the red, green and blue images from a recent Cassini image session containing five of Saturn's moons: Janus, Pandora, Enceladus, Mimas and Rhea.

Pretty movie: Everything in the Saturn system is in motion!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 26, 2011

A few weeks ago a producer for a public television space documentary asked me if I knew of any cool Cassini animations and my answer was, "Ooh, what a great excuse to have some fun digging around in the Cassini data archives." Here is the most fun animation I came up with in response to the request.

Congratulations to the Dawn team on their orbit entry & pretty pictures!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 18, 2011

There's a new orbital mission on the map! As of Friday, the relatively small mass of the asteroid Vesta has finally taken hold of its new artificial satellite, Dawn.

Cassini animations: Rhea and Dione and Titan

Emily Lakdawalla • June 28, 2011

I've been mucking about in the Cassini data archives (as I often do when procrastinating) and unearthed a neat, if short, mutual event sequence of two crescent moons passing by each other.

Cassini finally catches Helene

Emily Lakdawalla • June 20, 2011

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!!

Color versions of the recent Titan & moon beauty shots

Emily Lakdawalla • June 02, 2011

Last week I got very excited about a set of pictures that had appeared on Cassini's raw images website, but was sad that I couldn't make color versions myself. I was so excited that I failed to identify the little icy moon in the picture correctly.

Tantalizing photos of Titan, Dione, Tethys, and Saturn

Emily Lakdawalla • May 23, 2011

It figures. I just start a three-week trip, with my only computer a diminutive Netbook, and guess what's just been radioed across the 1.3 billion kilometers separating us and Saturn? A set of photos that should become -- when properly processed -- an iconic image from Cassini's fourteen-year mission to the Saturn system.

Titan's lack of lightning

Emily Lakdawalla • May 19, 2011

It's a fact of life in science that not all of your hypotheses will turn out to be correct (or even verifiable at all). But there's a bias toward the publication of positive results -- the discovery of this, or the proof of that.

Watch Saturn's storms spin with VIMS

Emily Lakdawalla • April 28, 2011

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.

Outside scientists being invited in to Cassini mission

Emily Lakdawalla • April 20, 2011

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.

Nearly behind Saturn

Emily Lakdawalla • April 19, 2011

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!

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

Emily Lakdawalla • April 07, 2011

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.

What's up in the solar system in April 2011

Emily Lakdawalla • March 31, 2011

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.

Evidence for rain on Titan

Emily Lakdawalla • March 22, 2011

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

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

Ted Stryk • March 17, 2011

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.

Pretty picture: Saturn storm

Emily Lakdawalla • March 08, 2011

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."

What's up in the solar system in March 2011

Emily Lakdawalla • February 28, 2011

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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