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

Enceladus: A problem of contrast

Time for my quarterly foray into the Cassini archival science data! The very first image I downloaded from the January 1, 2013 data release presented an interesting challenge to my image processing skill. I'll show you the pretty picture of Enceladus and then explain how I processed it.

Happy Cassini PDS Release Day!

It's a quarterly feast day for me: the day that the Cassini mission delivers three months' worth of data to NASA's Planetary Data System. Here's a few images processed from the October 1, 2012 data release.

Pretty picture: Enceladus, in lovely color

Here's an awesome picture to start off the week. The data came from Cassini's flyby of Enceladus on January 31, 2011; it was part of Cassini's January 2012 data release.

More radar images of icy moons from Cassini: Iapetus, Enceladus, and Rhea

When I posted about the really cool Cassini SAR images of Enceladus a few weeks ago, I initially wrote that this was the first-ever SAR image of an icy moon other than Titan. Several people (some readers and two members of the Cassini science team!) corrected that statement: Cassini has performed SAR imaging of other icy moons (including Enceladus) before.

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.

Saturnlit moon, sunlit fountains

It's been a week of very heavy science on this blog, so I thought it'd be nice to go into the weekend with a post in which a breathtaking picture speaks for itself, without needing my thousands of words.

Some first impressions of EPSC-DPS meeting

Today they turned on the scientific fire hose at the Division of Planetary Sciences / European Planetary Science Congress meeting happening here in Nantes, France. My brain already feels full and I still have four more days!

Pretty pictures: Dancing moons

Since Cassini currently orbits Saturn within the plane of Saturn's rings, it has lots of chances to catch two or more moons in the same photo. One such

Tethys and Dione don't seem to be active after all

About four years ago I wrote a blog entry about an ESA press release about paper published in Nature that suggested that Saturn's moons Tethys and Dione might have volcanic activity, like Enceladus. A new paper published in Icarus casts doubt on that conclusion.

Pretty picture: five moons for Cassini

Explaining how to combine the red, green and blue images from a recent Cassini image session containing five of Saturn's moons: Janus, Pandora, Enceladus, Mimas and Rhea.

Origins 2011 conference, part 2

In this, my second blog on Origins 2011 in Montpellier, France, a conference dedicated to the interdisciplinary research on the origins of life, I aim to provide my impression of the second half of the conference.

Lots of great stuff in the latest Cassini data release

I've got some lovely pictures from Saturn to show you! Every three months, the Cassini mission dumps gigabytes worth of precious Saturn data into the Planetary Data System, and the latest gift came on April 1. This particular pile of data, which was taken between April 1 and June 30, 2010, contains a lot of really terrific moon observations.

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