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Blog Archive


Watching the birth and death of moonlets in Saturn's F ring

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/07/22 09:09 CDT

The Saturn system is always in motion, always changing. Saturn itself is a gas giant, with swirling storms, and like the other gas giants it has a host of moons flying around, perturbing each other's motions. And then there's the rings.

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Cassini eyes Janus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/07/13 01:56 CDT

Four times a year, the Cassini mission releases three months' worth of data gathered from Saturn and its moons to NASA's Planetary Data System.

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Sharpest-ever images of Daphnis

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/07/06 02:58 CDT

As promised last week, Cassini has delivered its best photos yet of the tiny moon Daphnis, the ringmoon that is responsible for carving out the skinny Keeler gap at the outer edge of Saturn's A ring.

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Titan's rivers are square

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/11 01:07 CDT

There's a new "planetary gromorphology image of the month" posted at the International Association of Geomorphologists' Planetary Geomorphology Working Group page, and it's a cool post about the shapes of the river networks on Titan.

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The most amazing image of Enceladus Cassini has captured yet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/19 01:05 CDT

Every time I think Cassini has captured the coolest image of Enceladus ever, it does better.

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Pictures hitting Earth from Cassini's close Enceladus flyby today

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/18 05:48 CDT

Cassini flew within 436 kilometers of Enceladus' surface today. Although it's Cassini's 11th targeted flyby of Enceladus, these close buzzes are never routine.

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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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New maps of Enceladus and other moons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/13 02:26 CDT

Every time Cassini gets reasonably close to one of the moons of Saturn, whether the close approach is a targeted one or just an opportunistic encounter, its planners usually take advantage of the proximity to take a bunch of photos.

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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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New names for Rhea

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/27 02:08 CDT

I learned today from Jason Perry that 42 new crater names have been approved by the International Astronomical Union for Rhea, the second largest of Saturn's moons.

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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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Hey, I'm on APOD today!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/20 04:02 CDT

A big thanks to Bob Nemiroff, editor of NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website, for picking my composition of a set of Cassini photos of Dione and Titan for today's offering.

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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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Dione and Titan

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/12 05:03 CDT

It's axiomatic that as soon as I post about pretty Cassini pictures, another set of pretty photos will appear on the raw images website.

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A feast of pretty pictures from Cassini

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/12 01:28 CDT

Cassini has it almost too easy. Point at anything in the Saturn system and you're guaranteed of a shot that looks, at least, pretty.

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A busy day for Cassini: Dione plus bonus Enceladus and Janus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/08 12:39 CDT

The Cassini Saturn orbiter just completed its second very close flyby of Saturn's mid-sized iceball moon Dione, and the images from that encounter have been streaming onto the Cassini raw images website this morning.

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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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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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