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Chang'E 2 imaging of Toutatis succeeded beyond my expectations!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 14, 2012

The Chang'E 2 mission flyby of Toutatis succeeded in acquiring images. Oh my goodness, did they succeed. These, in combination with the incredible radar images still being acquired from Goldstone and innumerable optical observations, make Toutatis one of the best-studied asteroids in the solar system.

Blast from the past: Mariner 4's images of Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 10, 2012

While hunting for photos to use in a presentation, I came across a couple of different amateur takes on the Mariner 4 photo catalog.

Watching the slow shift of seasons on Titan

Emily Lakdawalla • November 06, 2012

A sharp-eyed amateur noticed two images of Titan taken 20 months apart from nearly exactly the same perspective, and they illustrate how the shifting of Saturn's seasons has brought change to Titan's atmosphere.

A huge color global view of Dione

Emily Lakdawalla • October 23, 2012

From the Cassini data archives comes a huge (5000 pixels square!) color image of Saturn's icy moon Dione, worth investigating from both near and far.

A Voyager 1 anniversary mosaic

Björn Jónsson • September 06, 2012

Back in 1979 the twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft flew by Jupiter. Some of their images were processed into color images and mosaics that have appeared countless times in books, magazines, on TV and on the Internet. Many of these images and mosaics are spectacular but they were processed more than 30 years ago using computers that are extremely primitive by today's standards. It's possible to get better results by processing the original, raw images from the Voyagers using modern computers and software.

Cure for the blues: processing images of a blue planet

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2012

I noticed today that I hadn't seen any amateur-processed versions of Voyager's departing shots of Uranus, so I decided to give it a try.

New spots on Uranus

Emily Lakdawalla • August 22, 2012

New Hubble photos show that Uranus has both dark and bright spots!

Pretty picture: Meet Tethys

Emily Lakdawalla • June 20, 2012

Just a pretty global view of one of Saturn's flock of icy moons, newly processed from archival data by Gordan Ugarkovic.

Steins, a jewel in the asteroid belt

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2012

A notice of some new names for features on asteroid 2867 Steins inspired me to dig up the data set from the September 5, 2008 Rosetta flyby and explore it to see what it contained.

Methone, an egg in Saturn orbit?

Emily Lakdawalla • May 21, 2012

Cassini obtained its first high-resolution images of Methone on May 20, 2012. Methone is one of the smallest regular moons of Saturn, having a diameter of only about 3 kilometers. It was the first moon that Cassini discovered, very early in Cassini's mission at Saturn, in 2004.

Ski Helene?

Emily Lakdawalla • April 20, 2012

I enthused about these Helene images the first time they came down from Cassini, and then forgot about them, and then was thrilled anew a couple of weeks ago when Daniel Macháček posted his version, processed from data published by the Cassini imaging team on April 1.

Pretty pictures from Cassini's weekend flybys of Enceladus and Tethys

Emily Lakdawalla • April 16, 2012

Cassini flew past both Enceladus and Tethys on April 14. Here's a cool animation of its approach to Enceladus' plumes, and a pretty global picture of Tethys.

Pretty Pictures: Amazing Asteroid Lutetia

Emily Lakdawalla • April 10, 2012

A long-awaited data set is finally public (well, long-awaited by me, at least). The Rosetta team has now published their data from the July 10, 2010 flyby of asteroid (21) Lutetia. This data set is absolutely stunning, and my friends in the amateur image processing community wasted no time in creating art out of it.

More Dawn Vesta approach images: First color views

Emily Lakdawalla • February 17, 2012

On June 30, Dawn stopped thrusting for a full Vestian day -- five hours and 20 minutes -- and just watched the asteroid rotate. But unlike the previous observations, they used all of Dawn's color filters to acquire the best-ever color photos of the lumpy world.

Dawn images of Vesta! Released!! For everyone!!!

Emily Lakdawalla • February 14, 2012

Some time in the last few days, the Dawn team made public the first preliminary version of the first release of their data from the Vesta phase of their mission.

Checking up on Jupiter and Saturn

Emily Lakdawalla • February 10, 2012

It's amateur astronomers, not professionals, who are shouldering the burden of constant monitoring of the weather on Jupiter and Saturn. What's going on these days in the outer solar system?

Scale solar system presentation slide, version 2

Emily Lakdawalla • October 31, 2011

Last month I posted a preliminary version of a slide I was working on for use in my public presentations, a slide that contains everything in the solar system bigger than 400 kilometers across, and invited comment. I've listened to all of your comments and corrections and come up with a second version.

Pretty pictures & movies: Eye candy from two recent Cassini Enceladus flybys

Emily Lakdawalla • October 20, 2011

Cassini has completed two very close flybys of Enceladus in less than three weeks, one of them just this morning, and the images from that encounter have already arrived on Earth.

Pretty pictures: Dancing moons

Emily Lakdawalla • September 28, 2011

Since Cassini currently orbits Saturn within the plane of Saturn's rings, it has lots of chances to catch two or more moons in the same photo. One such "mutual event" happened on September 17, featuring four moons: Titan, Dione, Pan, and Pandora.

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.

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