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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/07 11:16 CDT

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.

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LPSC 2011: Sponge-moon Hyperion

Posted by Mike Malaska on 2011/03/23 02:51 CDT

Saturn's moon Hyperion has a bizarre sponge-like appearance that is in dramatic contrast to other heavily cratered bodies in the solar system.

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Evidence for rain on Titan

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/22 04:40 CDT

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

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Mercury: a moon-scale body

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/17 06:15 CDT

As I wait for the MESSENGER Mercury Orbit Insertion webcast to start, I thought I'd fiddle with some images to point out that Mercury is a bridge between the scales of planets and the scales of moons.

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

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2011/03/17 11:22 CDT

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.

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The curse of living on a geologically active planet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/14 02:07 CDT

As the disaster of the magnitude 8.9 Sendai quake of Friday, March 11, at 05:46:23 UTC continues to unfold in Japan, I have been unable to tear my attention away.

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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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Two fine color Cassini animations: Prometheus rotating, Tethys and Dione dancing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/20 11:23 CST

Daniel Macháček has reached into the dark side of Prometheus and pulled out an incredible amount of detail where the potato-shaped moon is illuminated by Saturnshine. He produced an animation that morphs among the three sets of four-filter color images that Cassini snapped during the flyby.

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Goodies from the January 11 Rhea flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/12 10:44 CST

Cassini got some incredibly tricky shots during its January 11 Rhea flyby!

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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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Dione and Telesto, close on camera but far apart in fact

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/18 12:28 CDT

This image, released today by Cassini's imaging team, is pretty cool; it shows one of Saturn's larger moons together with one of its smaller ones. I probably noticed the nice photo of Dione when it appeared on the Cassini raw images page two months ago, but I know I didn't notice the little speck below and to the left of the bigger moon. That speck is a small moon, Telesto.

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Radar glories in Titan rivers

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/11 04:53 CDT

Wow, this is a cool paper. Here's the gist: the Cassini RADAR team has spotted some river channels on Titan that shine so brightly in radar images, there must be something special going on to explain that brightness.

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Titan and Dione: The same, but different

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/22 05:29 CDT

Here's a new lovely color composition of Titan and Dione captured by Cassini. This one was taken on April 20, 2010; a set of 15 raw images taken of the two moons just showed up on the Cassini raw images website.

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A calming Titan

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/19 03:35 CDT

Usually I like Mondays, but today I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed, I look at pictures from Cassini.

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Cassini Aegaeon and Prometheus awesomeness

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/28 12:38 CST

There were many, many treats waiting on the Cassini raw images website this morning. Yesterday, Cassini traversed the G ring, taking photos all the way.

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Highlights from the January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/13 03:43 CST

The January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release includes everything acquired by Cassini from January 1 to March 30, 2009 in all its high-quality glory.

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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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Awesome Mars Express view of Phobos and Deimos together

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/11 11:24 CST

My inbox was exploding this morning with messages about a tremendously cool animation released this morning by ESA's Mars Express team. It shows Phobos crossing Deimos, in what's known as a "mutual event."

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