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Blog Archive

 

Saturn's small satellites, to scale

Emily Lakdawalla • May 17, 2017

Emily shares another of her popular size comparisons of solar system bodies, taking advantage of Cassini's recent views of Saturn's tiniest moons.

Cassini's 'Grand Finale' Portrait of Saturn

Ian Regan • May 16, 2017

Amateur image processor Ian Regan shares a stunning mosaic of Saturn in all its ringed glory.

Cassini, with only a half-year to go at Saturn, just keeps dropping awesome images

Jason Davis • March 09, 2017

Our latest roundup of Cassini goodies from Saturn includes Pan, a ravioli-shaped moon that orbits inside the planet's ring system.

Amazing photos of tiny moons as Cassini orbits among the rings

Emily Lakdawalla • January 19, 2017

Behold: Daphnis, the tiny, 8-kilometer moon that orbits within a ring gap, gently tugging on the edges of the gap to create delicate scallops.

Pretty pictures: Bittersweet goodies from Cassini at Titan, Enceladus, and Telesto

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2016

Tomorrow, Cassini will fly by Titan, picking up a gravity assist that will tilt its orbit slightly up and out of the ring plane. That will end what has been a wonderful year of frequent encounters with Saturnian moons.

Prometheus, Pandora, and the braided F ring in motion

Emily Lakdawalla • March 23, 2015

Cassini recently took a long, high-resolution movie of the F ring, catching a view of its ringlets, clumps, and streamers, and two potato-shaped moons, Prometheus and Pandora.

On the masses and motions of mini-moons: Pandora's not a "shepherd," but Prometheus still is

Emily Lakdawalla • July 04, 2014

As Cassini celebrates 10 years at Saturn, we're beginning to see its long-term observations of Saturnian moons bear fruit. A surprising new result: While Prometheus exerts control over the F ring and Atlas, Pandora -- long thought to be a shepherd of the F ring -- does not.

A close look at Saturn's closest moons

Emily Lakdawalla • June 26, 2014

A new composite image of the eight named moons that orbit closest to Saturn, and a list of all the best Cassini observations of these moons.

The Two Faces of Phoebe

Daniel Macháček • February 13, 2014

Cassini flew past Phoebe on June 11, 2004, on its way to entering Saturn orbit. The flyby was almost perfect but overexposure of some images have prevented color mosaics from being produced. Even though Phoebe's body is gray and dull in color, the absence of color images always provoked me. By using VIMS data, I have now produced color mosaics.

Just what is going on in that magnificent Cassini image of Saturn?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 13, 2013

It took months of work (and no wonder) but the wait was worth it: here is Cassini's spectacular view of Saturn, captured on July 19, 2013, as Cassini passed through Saturn's shadow. If you're a little confused by the image, I'm here to help: I've posted a video explainer.

DPS 2013: The fascination of tiny worlds

Emily Lakdawalla • October 17, 2013

In which I summarize Joe Veverka's Kuiper Prize talk at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: "Small is NOT Dull: Unravelling the Complexity of Surface Processes on Asteroids, Comets and Small Satellites."

New names for Pluto's little moons Kerberos and Styx; and a new moon for Neptune

Emily Lakdawalla • July 15, 2013

Pluto's moons, formerly known as "P4" and "P5," are now named Kerberos and Styx; I thought I'd help place them into context with a little help from Cassini. Also, Neptune now has a 14th known moon.

Mimas and Pandora dance

Emily Lakdawalla • May 15, 2013

I've been out of town for a couple of days and am overwhelmed with work and an overflowing email box. So what do I do about that? I ignore what I'm supposed to be doing and play with Cassini raw image data, of course. Here is a "mutual event" of Mimas (the bigger moon) and Pandora (the outer shepherd of the F ring).

DPS 2012, Day 5: How to make asteroids crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle

Emily Lakdawalla • October 19, 2012

A summary of just one talk from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, which provided a neat explanation for how asteroids can be melted and layered on the inside yet have a primitive-looking exterior.

DPS 2012, Monday: Icy moons and a four-star exoplanet

Emily Lakdawalla • October 15, 2012

In the first full day of the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, I listened to scientific sessions on icy worlds and on an exoplanet in a four-star system.

Daphnis cruises through the Keeler Gap

Jason Davis • August 16, 2012

A recent series of ring images by the Cassini spacecraft reveal Saturn's tiny moon Daphnis cruising through the Keeler Gap.

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 picture: Janus and Saturn

Emily Lakdawalla • April 04, 2012

In the last few days as it's rounded periapsis in its current orbit of Saturn, Cassini has taken a lot of great photos of Saturn's moons. One series of photos was taken from pretty close to Janus, a moon about a third the diameter of Enceladus that orbits between the F and G rings. And among those, several were taken with the moon sitting in front of Saturn.

Pretty picture: Saturn, a big moon, and a teeny one

Emily Lakdawalla • January 09, 2012

A recent view from Cassini of Saturn with its largest moon (Titan) and one of its small ringmoons, Prometheus.

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