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Blog Archive


Radar topographic view of a volcano

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/17 12:20 CST

Quick -- where is this? Is it one of Venus' iconic volcanoes? Or maybe Mars'?

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2010 JL33: How to see an asteroid from quite a long way away

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/13 11:42 CST

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.

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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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Arecibo images show Hartley 2 is elongated

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/10/29 11:33 CDT

Comet Hartley 2, the target for Deep Impact's close flyby (now just six days away!) made its closest approach to Earth on October 20, at a distance of 17.7 million kilometers.

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Using Earth to Study the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/26 12:51 CDT

Exploring Earth analogues of space landscapes is a valuable activity that can help planetary scientists correctly interpret what their instruments are telling them.

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Arecibo saves us from another potentially hazardous asteroid

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/29 02:04 CDT

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.

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How radio telescopes get "images" of asteroids

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/29 02:04 CDT

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.

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Pretty Picture: ISS in the X-band

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/04 08:40 CST

This is from the "Just Plain Cool" department: a picture of the International Space Station taken in microwave radar.

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Cassini VIMS sees the long-awaited glint off a Titan lake

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/17 04:28 CST

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.

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Changes in Titan's southern lakes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/06 05:19 CDT

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.

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Triple asteroid 1994 CC rotation animation

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/06 10:39 CDT

From the "just plain cool" department. I love animations of planetary images and I love radar images of asteroids -- so this animation is doubly cool.

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Proof for liquids on Titan

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/07/30 07:02 CDT

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?

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Titan's south pole looks pretty dry

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/01/11 04:31 CST

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.

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News flash: Lakes at Titan's south pole, too, on top of the land of lakes in the north

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/10/11 12:32 CDT

Lakes have been spotted near the south pole of Titan before, in this image by the ISS team, which was considered compelling but not conclusive at the time.

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Europlanet: RADAR views of Titanian Geology

Posted by Doug Ellison on 2007/08/24 05:38 CDT

"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.

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