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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!

How long is a day on Saturn?

Emily Lakdawalla • May 30, 2018

One of the Cassini mission's goals was to figure out how long a day on Saturn is. We still don't know. A new paper reports a measurement of the rotation period of Saturn that is different from past measurements.

A new storm on Saturn!

Emily Lakdawalla • April 03, 2018 • 1

On March 29, vigilant astronomer Maciel Bassani Sparrenberger discovered that a new bright spot had broken out in Saturn's high northern latitudes.

Cassini: The dying of the light

Emily Lakdawalla • September 15, 2017 • 12

Cassini is no more. At 10:31 according to its own clock, its thrusters could no longer hold its radio antenna pointed at Earth, and it turned away. A minute later, it vaporized in Saturn’s atmosphere. Its atoms are part of Saturn now.

Saturn and Titan in the Milky Way

Emily Lakdawalla • May 08, 2017

An unusual photo of Saturn by astrophotographer Damian Peach shows the planet and its largest moon nestled among the star-filled lane of the Milky Way.

Trusty Cassini survives first dive between Saturn and its rings

Emily Lakdawalla • April 28, 2017 • 4

Cheers erupted in the Von Karman auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory early Thursday morning as a squiggly green line on a graph developed a crisp, tall peak, signifying that the Cassini spacecraft was calling home after surviving its first plunge between Saturn and its ring system.

Oppositions, conjunctions, seasons, and ring plane crossings of the giant planets

Emily Lakdawalla • July 07, 2016 • 4

When are the solstices and equinoxes on the giant planets, and when are they best positioned for view from Earth? I ask these questions a lot as I write about Earth photos of giant planets, and I finally decided to gather the answers to those questions in a single post.

Three bright planets: Portraits from the Pyrenees

Emily Lakdawalla • May 26, 2016 • 1

It's a great time to go outdoors and look at planets. I have three glorious planetary portraits to share today, sent to me by amateur astronomer Jean-Luc Dauvergne.

New work with 35-year-old data: Voyagers at Ganymede and Saturn

Emily Lakdawalla • May 25, 2016 • 8

The Voyager data set is a gift to Earth that keeps on giving. This week, I've seen three great new images processed from this old data set.

Watch the entire Cassini mission image catalog as a movie

Emily Lakdawalla • November 20, 2015 • 2

If you were to download the entire catalog of photos taken at Saturn to date by Cassini and then animate them like a flipbook, how long would it take to watch them all pass by? The Wall Street Journal's Visual Correspondent Jon Keegan has your answer: nearly four hours.

Cassini's awesomeness fully funded through mission's dramatic end in 2017

Emily Lakdawalla • September 03, 2014 • 9

Last year, rumors swirled that NASA may be so pinched for dollars that the agency might end the Cassini mission early. Today, Cassini received the welcome news that it has formally been funded through the planned end of its extended-extended mission in 2017. A huge congratulations to the Cassini mission!

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Emily Lakdwalla
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