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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

The Moon as seen by Cassini VIMS, processed by an amateur

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

24-09-2009 13:17 CDT

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One of the pieces of the Big Super Secret Moon Water Story that's all over the Web and will be the topic of a press briefing in under an hour is an observation of the Moon made by Cassini more than a decade ago during its flyby of Earth. As some of the earliest data captured by Cassini, it's been available to researchers and the public for a very long time. It wasn't from Cassini's cameras; it was from its imaging spectrometer, VIMS. One of my favorite amateur image processors, Gordan Ugarkovic, has played with these data and produced the following approximate true color image of the Moon. This image doesn't tell the water story -- it only tells what a human sitting on Cassini would see. The water story lies within the VIMS spectral data, some illustration of which will hopefully be released shortly.

The Moon from Cassini VIMS

NASA / JPL / University of Arizona / color composite by Gordan Ugarkovic

The Moon from Cassini VIMS
During its Earth flyby on August 18, 1999, Cassini pointed its optical instruments at Earth and the Moon to gather data that would be useful for calibrating their instruments. This true-color image of the Moon was composed from VIMS data by Gordan Ugarkovic. Ugarkovic created a "super-resolution" view by stacking four VIMS images together.
I put this image out there for the blogosphere to enjoy. I just beg you, if you include this image in anything you write about today's Moon announcement, please give credit where it's due, to the University of Arizona for the original data, and to Ugarkovic for his work with it.

I'll be watching the press briefing but will not be able to get a story posted right away, possibly not until tomorrow. Hopefully I'll make up for my tardiness with considered analysis of the results and a hypeless view of what they really mean!

 
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