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Our journalists and guest bloggers bring you stunning imagery and the space stories that matter most.

Pretty pictures from Cassini's recent Dione flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • May 04, 2012

Cassini performed its last of three close encounters with Enceladus for 2012 two days ago, and followed the flyby with some spectacular images of Dione.

Titan, Dead or Alive? A Debate

Emily Lakdawalla • May 02, 2012

A lively discussion and debate between planetary polymaths Ralph Lorenz and Jeffrey Moore about Titan, hosted by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, moderated by David Grinspoon.

Ski Helene?

Emily Lakdawalla • April 20, 2012 • 2

I enthused about these Helene images the first time they came down from Cassini, and then forgot about them, and then was thrilled anew a couple of weeks ago when Daniel Macháček posted his version, processed from data published by the Cassini imaging team on April 1.

Pretty pictures from Cassini's weekend flybys of Enceladus and Tethys

Emily Lakdawalla • April 16, 2012

Cassini flew past both Enceladus and Tethys on April 14. Here's a cool animation of its approach to Enceladus' plumes, and a pretty global picture of Tethys.

Pretty picture: Janus and Saturn

Emily Lakdawalla • April 04, 2012

In the last few days as it's rounded periapsis in its current orbit of Saturn, Cassini has taken a lot of great photos of Saturn's moons. One series of photos was taken from pretty close to Janus, a moon about a third the diameter of Enceladus that orbits between the F and G rings. And among those, several were taken with the moon sitting in front of Saturn.

What Saturn's moons can tell us about comets (Notes from LPSC 2012)

Emily Lakdawalla • April 03, 2012

My notes on a two-part presentation by collaborators Jim Richardson and David Minton about the sizes of things in the Kuiper belt, a story they told by looking at Saturn's moons. How does that work? What connects Saturn's moons to the Kuiper belt is craters.

Notes from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference: Making Cassini's radar images prettier

Emily Lakdawalla • March 26, 2012

One of the more exciting talks last week was given by Antoine Lucas about his work with Oded Aharonson "denoising" Cassini radar images of Titan. Cassini's radar images are superior to the camera photos in revealing fine details and topography on Titan's surface, but they do suffer from a random noise component that makes the pictures look snowy. Antoine and Oded have developed a method for removing much of this noise.

Notes from Titan talks at the 2012 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC)

Emily Lakdawalla • March 20, 2012

One of the topics I found most exciting yesterday was a series of talks on Titan's climate. Bob West showed how Titan's detached haze has shifted with time. Zibi Turtle presented about how Titan's weather has changed with these seasonal changes. Jason Barnes followed up Zibi's talk -- which was based on Cassini camera images -- with a study of the same regions using data from Cassini's imaging spectrometer, trying to figure out what was going on with that brightening. Ralph Lorenz talked about rainfall rates on Titan. Jeff Moore asked: what if Titan hasn't always had a thick atmosphere?

Pretty picture: A study in ringlight

Emily Lakdawalla • March 08, 2012

Clearly, this is Saturn, and its rings, and if you look closer you can see a tiny circle, on top of the rings, which is Mimas, and two stars in the background. It should look weird to you that while the rings are bright, Mimas is a black dot. What is happening here? Nearly everything in this picture is lit by light that has not arrived directly from the Sun.

Iapetus' peerless equatorial ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • February 22, 2012 • 2

A new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets by Dombard, Cheng, McKinnon, and KayI claims to explain how Iapetus' equatorial ridge formed. Cool!

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