Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

OMG! Aurora!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

12-10-2009 22:43 CDT

Topics: pretty pictures, Cassini, amateur image processing, best of, Saturn, animation

This is SO cool. Unmannedspaceflight.com member Astro0 was fiddling around with an interesting-looking sequence of Cassini images when he discovered their purpose -- they were gathered in order to see if Cassini could catch aurorae flaring into being near Saturn's north pole. Cassini sure did! The animation is absolutely incredible. I've just posted a brief excerpt below to give you a bit of the flavor; download the full version to be mesmerized by spinning Saturn, streaking stars, and sudden auroral flares that rotate as they fade, floating above the visible edge of Saturn's disk.

Saturn's rotating aurora (excerpt)

NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / animation by Astro0, unmannedspaceflight.com

Saturn's rotating aurora (excerpt)
This animation consists of 21 frames captured by Cassini on October 7, 2009, focused near Saturn's north pole on the night side of the planet. Each frame is a long exposure, causing background stars to extend into long streaks. There are other small pointlike image artifacts that do not move from frame to frame (so they are most likely hot pixels or some other sort of thing internal to the instrument). There are also occasional cosmic ray hits that produce one-time streaks that aren't visible in subsequent frames. As Saturn rotates, the aurora flares. This is just an excerpt of a much longer animation that can be downloaded here (9.8 MB).
 
See other posts from October 2009

 

Or read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, Cassini, amateur image processing, best of, Saturn, animation

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Essential Advocacy

Our Advocacy Program 
provides each Society member 
a voice in the process.



Funding is critical. The more 
we have, the more effective 
we can be, translating into more 
missions, more science, 
and more exploration.

Donate

Featured Images

Northwestern Tharsis region, Mars
Venus' glowing nightside from Akatsuki
Artist's impression of Makemake and its moon
Simulated view of the lunar farside: 22 days old
More Images

Featured Video

Intro Astronomy 2016. Class 12: Exoplanets, the Sun, and Solar Physics

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!