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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

First-ever high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar image of Enceladus

On the November 6, 2011 flyby of Enceladus -- the third such flyby in just a few weeks -- the Cassini mission elected to take a SAR swath instead of using the optical instruments for once. So here it is: the first-ever SAR swath on Enceladus. In fact, the only other places we've ever done SAR imaging are Earth, the Moon, Venus, Iapetus, and Titan.

2010 JL33: How to see an asteroid from quite a long way away

A terrific set of Goldstone radar images of a good-sized near-Earth asteroids named 2010 JL33 was posted to the JPL website yesterday. They also posted a movie version but something about these pixelated radar image series absolutely begs for them to be displayed as an old-school animated GIF, so I made one.

Arecibo images show Hartley 2 is elongated

Comet Hartley 2, the target for Deep Impact's close flyby (now just six days away!) made its closest approach to Earth on October 20, at a distance of 17.7 million kilometers.

Using Earth to Study the Moon

Exploring Earth analogues of space landscapes is a valuable activity that can help planetary scientists correctly interpret what their instruments are telling them.

How radio telescopes get "images" of asteroids [DEPRECATED]

Every time I post a radio telescope image of a near-Earth asteroid, I get at least one reader question asking me to explain how radio telescopes take photos, so I'm hereby writing a post explaining the basics of how delay-Doppler imaging works.

Arecibo saves us from another potentially hazardous asteroid

That's a bit of an overdramatic title, but it's true that the most efficient way for us to reduce the risk we face from asteroids that have a very small chance of hitting Earth in the future is to determine their orbits more precisely.

Cassini VIMS sees the long-awaited glint off a Titan lake

The Cassini mission announced today the first observation of a specular reflection off of a lake on Titan. A specular reflection is a mirror-like flash, and you only get one when you have a mirror-like surface -- very, very smooth.

Changes in Titan's southern lakes

Today's science press release out of the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting concerns changes in lakes near Titan's south pole observed during Cassini's mission. In brief, repeat Cassini RADAR observations of the same spots during different Titan flybys turned up places where there appeared to be dark lakes in earlier images and dry lakes in later images.

Titan's south pole looks pretty dry

One of the major results from the Cassini mission last year was the production of a mosaic of images from its RADAR instrument covering Titan's north pole. Titan's north pole has lakes upon lakes, some big, some small, but everywhere you look, there they are.

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