Anticipating the close flyby of asteroid 2005 YU55 yesterday, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory invited media to tour Goldstone, one of three facilities that make up NASA's Deep Space Network. I've always wanted to see these massive radio dishes up close, so I jumped at the chance!
A terrific set of Goldstone radar images of a good-sized near-Earth asteroids named 2010 JL33 was posted to the JPL website yesterday. They also posted a movie version but something about these pixelated radar image series absolutely begs for them to be displayed as an old-school animated GIF, so I made one.
That's a bit of an overdramatic title, but it's true that the most efficient way for us to reduce the risk we face from asteroids that have a very small chance of hitting Earth in the future is to determine their orbits more precisely.
Every time I post a radio telescope image of a near-Earth asteroid, I get at least one reader question asking me to explain how radio telescopes take photos, so I'm hereby writing a post explaining the basics of how delay-Doppler imaging works.
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.
Today's science press release out of the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting concerns changes in lakes near Titan's south pole observed during Cassini's mission. In brief, repeat Cassini RADAR observations of the same spots during different Titan flybys turned up places where there appeared to be dark lakes in earlier images and dry lakes in later images.
A press release from the Cassini VIMS team today is titled "NASA Confirms Liquid Lake on Saturn Moon." This may be making some of you ask: but wait, haven't they already proven there's liquid lakes on Titan?
One of the major results from the Cassini mission last year was the production of a mosaic of images from its RADAR instrument covering Titan's north pole. Titan's north pole has lakes upon lakes, some big, some small, but everywhere you look, there they are.
"What plays in Potsdam stays in Potsdam" - that's how Ralph described a problem I mentioned over at UMSF where I explained I couldn't combine the audio of my talk with the MOV of the slides because you're not allowed to record presentations. It's "law of the stag" for conferences. So, in the spirit of the law, here's an overview of Ralph's excellent overview of Titanian geology as seen by various RADAR passes.