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Pretty pictures from Cassini's recent Dione flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • December 22, 2011

Cassini flew close by Dione on December 12 and, as usual, the close pass provided opportunities for lots of dramatic photos, not just of Dione, but of other moons wandering by in the background.

What do we know about planetary rings? Quite a lot, actually!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 15, 2011

A summary of a new article by Matt Tiscareno about planetary ring systems that reviews the known ring systems of the four giant planets and the prospects for ring systems yet to be discovered.

Pretty pictures: Dancing moons

Emily Lakdawalla • September 28, 2011

Since Cassini currently orbits Saturn within the plane of Saturn's rings, it has lots of chances to catch two or more moons in the same photo. One such "mutual event" happened on September 17, featuring four moons: Titan, Dione, Pan, and Pandora.

Scale solar system presentation slide, a provisional version for you to review

Emily Lakdawalla • September 15, 2011

I'm preparing a talk for the Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show here in Pasadena on Sunday afternoon at 1:45. I have spent the morning putting together a slide that I have long wanted to have for presentations.

Holey Hyperion!

Emily Lakdawalla • August 26, 2011

Yesterday Cassini passed unusually close by Hyperion, the oddly shaped moon that orbits Saturn just beyond Titan. Among the many cool images captured during this flyby were three that I used to make this neato view of Hyperion's crescent.

Pretty picture: five moons for Cassini

Emily Lakdawalla • August 03, 2011

Explaining how to combine the red, green and blue images from a recent Cassini image session containing five of Saturn's moons: Janus, Pandora, Enceladus, Mimas and Rhea.

Pretty movie: Everything in the Saturn system is in motion!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 26, 2011

A few weeks ago a producer for a public television space documentary asked me if I knew of any cool Cassini animations and my answer was, "Ooh, what a great excuse to have some fun digging around in the Cassini data archives." Here is the most fun animation I came up with in response to the request.

Congratulations to the Dawn team on their orbit entry & pretty pictures!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 18, 2011

There's a new orbital mission on the map! As of Friday, the relatively small mass of the asteroid Vesta has finally taken hold of its new artificial satellite, Dawn.

Vesta looks pretty battered

Emily Lakdawalla • June 23, 2011

There was a press briefing on Dawn today at NASA Headquarters, and there are new pictures! Here's what Vesta looked like as of three days ago, when Dawn was only 189,000 kilometers away.

Cassini finally catches Helene

Emily Lakdawalla • June 20, 2011

Cassini has finally achieved gorgeous global imaging of Helene with a spectacular flyby on Saturday, in which they got Helene to pose prettily for the camera from beginning to end of the encounter. And what a wacky, wacky world Cassini has revealed Helene to be!!

Color versions of the recent Titan & moon beauty shots

Emily Lakdawalla • June 02, 2011

Last week I got very excited about a set of pictures that had appeared on Cassini's raw images website, but was sad that I couldn't make color versions myself. I was so excited that I failed to identify the little icy moon in the picture correctly.

Lots of great stuff in the latest Cassini data release

Emily Lakdawalla • April 13, 2011

I've got some lovely pictures from Saturn to show you! Every three months, the Cassini mission dumps gigabytes worth of precious Saturn data into the Planetary Data System, and the latest gift came on April 1. This particular pile of data, which was taken between April 1 and June 30, 2010, contains a lot of really terrific moon observations.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • April 07, 2011

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.

LPSC 2011: Sponge-moon Hyperion

Mike Malaska • March 23, 2011

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

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

Ted Stryk • March 17, 2011

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 20, 2011

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.

Goodies from the January 11 Rhea flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • January 12, 2011

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

Door 1 in the Planetary Society Blog 2010 advent calendar

Emily Lakdawalla • December 01, 2010

December really has arrived, and that means that the year is racing to a close. Continuing last year's tradition, I'm counting the days to the New Year with an advent calendar, where each "door" opens onto a global image of a different world in the solar system.

Pretty picture: Three moons of Saturn

Emily Lakdawalla • October 29, 2010

The Cassini Raw Images Website always offers rewards to the browser. This evening I found the raw images necessary to create this color composite, showing the hazy orange moon Titan, the mid-sized icy moon Dione, and the tiny rock Prometheus all at the same time.

An update to the Cassini Tour Page

Emily Lakdawalla • October 27, 2010

Where's the Cassini Saturn orbiter going to be in the next week -- or hundred weeks? It's all already planned out.

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