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Snapshots from Space

by Emily Lakdawalla

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Emily Lakdawalla

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Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!

What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2013 • 4

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

Enceladus huffs and puffs: plumes vary with orbital longitude

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2013 • 2

In which I finally get around to writing about a paper published last August: Enceladus' plumes sometimes spout more and sometimes spout less, depending on where Enceladus is in its orbit. This discovery was enabled by Cassini's longevity at Saturn, and we'll be able to follow up on it, as long as Cassini is allowed to complete its mission.

Pretty picture: newly processed high-res view of a fractured icy moon, Dione

Emily Lakdawalla • December 04, 2013 • 4

Here's a lovely new view of Dione, one of the lovely mid-sized icy moons of Saturn, assembled by Daniel Macháček.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 13, 2013 • 7

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.

One for the history books: Stunning Saturn mosaic captured last week by Cassini

Emily Lakdawalla • October 16, 2013 • 5

I try to be measured in my praise for spacecraft images. Not every photo can be the greatest space image ever. But this enormous mosaic showing the flattened globe of Saturn floating within the complete disk of its rings must surely be counted among the great images of the Cassini mission.

DPS 2013: Tidbits from Titan

Emily Lakdawalla • October 09, 2013 • 8

I attended a few talks at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting today that concerned Titan's origin and interesting surface, and then one in the afternoon about the atmosphere.

Pretty picture: spectacular Saturn and Titan

Emily Lakdawalla • August 15, 2013 • 3

A lovely view of the ringed planet and its hazy moon seen from nearly behind them just a few days ago.

Pretty picture: Looking backward

Emily Lakdawalla • July 23, 2013 • 15

Here it is: the view from Saturn of our Earthly home, one and a half billion kilometers away. We see Earth and the Moon through a thin veil of faintly blue ice crystals, the outskirts of Saturn's E ring. Earth is just a bright dot -- a bit brighter than the other stars in the image, but no brighter than any planet (like Saturn!) in our own sky.

Mimas and Pandora dance

Emily Lakdawalla • May 15, 2013 • 6

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).

One of my favorite image processing tricks: colorizing images

Emily Lakdawalla • April 23, 2013 • 2

An easy image processing trick -- using lower-resolution color data to colorize a black-and-white photo -- is relied upon by many space missions to keep data volumes low. Here's how to do it.

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