Emily LakdawallaDec 23, 2009

Awesome Cassini mutual event movies

I love posting animations of Cassini images that I compose from frames grabbed from the mission's raw images website, but they are shoddy compared to the versions that eventually come out from the mission's imaging team. Today they released four really cool versions of mutual event movies, animations showing motions of two or more of Saturn's moons past each other. These movies are not captured just for their coolness value; they are essential for fine-tuning our measurements of the precise orbits of each of Saturn's moons.

For all four of these movies, the original data consisted of 10 to 20 individual frames, captured as Cassini was in motion with respect to the moons and Saturn. The imaging team has reprojected all the images to a common point of view (correcting somewhat for the motion of the spacecraft, which I think mostly accomplishes the goal of keeping the rings still) and then "tweened" the animation, interpolating additional, synthesized frames between the actual data to make the movies run more smoothly. I uploaded them all to my Facebook page so that I could embed them below; for much higher-resolution versions and detailed captions, follow the links to the individual animations.

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