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Blog Archive


Saturn's storm: A quick turnaround from Hubble

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/28 04:13 CDT

Saturn's raging northern storm has been watched since it began by amateur astronomers, and now Cassini is getting in to the act too. Presumably once astronomers realized the magnitude of what was going on, some of Earth's great observatories were also occasionally pointed at the ringed planet to watch the storm grow.

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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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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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Getting to the real science image data: It's not that hard!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/01 04:14 CDT

If I have to, I will drag reluctant people one at a time to plunge into NASA's Planetary Data System.

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Exposing Io's true colors

Posted by Jason Perry on 2010/08/20 05:15 CDT

Thanks to its active volcanic activity and sulfur-rich surface, Io is one of the most colorful worlds yet seen in the Solar System, save the Earth of course

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Decoding a Titan crater

Posted by Emily Martin on 2010/08/16 01:42 CDT

In response to Emily's entry about finally getting her hands on a subscription to the planetary science journal Icarus, I thought I would report on an article from the most recent issue: Geology of the Selk crater region on Titan from Cassini VIMS observations, by Jason Soderblom and 11 other scientists.

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Venus Express evidence for recent hot-spot volcanism on Venus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/09 04:51 CDT

Venus? What? Somebody still studies that planet? Yes, and in fact there's an active spacecraft there: Venus Express, the poor little sister to Mars Express.

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Pretty picture: Rhea, rings, and two little moons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/06 03:07 CDT

Here's a lovely picture whose components came down from Cassini a few days ago.

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My arduous journey to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/02 02:41 CDT

It's been two weeks since Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission released a flood of data to the Planetary Data System, but I haven't posted any pictures dug out of the camera data yet. This post will explain why.

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Pretty picture: An unexplained chain of elliptical craters on the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/02 02:41 CDT

Here's the first cool pic I've managed to produce from the recently-released Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera data set.

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Find pics and track the rovers in Google Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/11 05:28 CST

I think a goodly proportion of you readers have already figured this out for yourselves since it was launched last March, but I didn't download and install it until last weekend, so this is new to me: Google Mars is awesome.

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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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Gravity's Bow

Posted by Timothy Reed on 2009/06/15 03:56 CDT

Timothy Reed explains how optical telescopes are tested for gravity sag, and the methods used to counteract or compensate for it.

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Aloha, Io

Posted by John Spencer on 2009/06/08 01:49 CDT

Taking a look at Jupiter's moon, Io, from Hawaii.

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Canto III: Hints of Equinox

Posted by David Seal on 2009/06/04 06:31 CDT

Saturn is rapidly approaching equinox, where the Sun passes through the ring plane (south-to-north, i.e. the northern vernal equinox), and its ring system (i.e. its great now-gloomy poorly-lit circles of large blocks of water ice) is starting to show some really interesting behavior.

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Canto II: Titan's Atmosphere and the Solar Cycle

Posted by David Seal on 2009/06/03 04:44 CDT

David Seal explains the complications for Cassini coming from Titan's atmosphere and Solar Cycle.

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Showing off Saturn's moons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/02/19 04:40 CST

There was a press release from the Cassini mission today about a pile of papers (14 of them!) being published in the journal Icarus about Saturn's icy moons. I haven't had time to read more than the overview article yet, but I wanted to come up with a graphic for an overview of Saturn's moons, and I couldn't resist delving into the massive database of Cassini images to produce something new

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Teeny little Bigfoot on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/01/23 01:41 CST | 3 comments

The story of a Sasquatch-shaped rock visible in a recent panorama from Spirit is getting a lot of play in the mainstream media, but fortunately, it's not being taken very seriously. (My favorite take on this picture is the lead from the Times Online story about it: "Is it a rock? A trick of Martian light on the eye? Or Osama Bin Laden waving from his barren hideout 300 million miles from planet Earth?")

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Europlanet : CoRoT - Preliminary Results

Posted by Doug Ellison on 2007/08/20 03:48 CDT

ESA's planet-hunting satellite COROT bagged its first exoplanet in observations of the star COROT-Exo-1.

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