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

Explore spinnable Saturn and Jupiter moons with Google Maps

Google Maps released several new map products that allow you to see the locations of named features on many solar system planets and non-planets, spinning them around in space with your mouse.

Cassini's 'Grand Finale' Portrait of Saturn

Amateur image processor Ian Regan shares a stunning mosaic of Saturn in all its ringed glory.

Pretty Cassini pictures: animation of Iapetus' north pole, and other fun

Now that Cassini has returned to Saturn's equatorial plane, it has lots of opportunities to observe Saturn's moons. For about a week, Cassini has been taking regular sets of images of Iapetus, which I've assembled into an animation.

At last, Ceres is a geological world

I've been resisting all urges to speculate on what kinds of geological features are present on Ceres, until now. Finally, Dawn has gotten close enough that the pictures it has returned show geology: bright spots, flat-floored craters, and enigmatic grooves.

Scale comparisons of the solar system's major moons

A few presentation slides with pretty pictures, sized to scale, of the large moons of the solar system.

Worlds in Collision

Meet some worlds that were nearly shattered, literally.

Mimas and Pandora dance

I've been out of town for a couple of days and am overwhelmed with work and an overflowing email box. So what do I do about that? I ignore what I'm supposed to be doing and play with Cassini raw image data, of course. Here is a

Pretty picture: A study in ringlight

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.

Pretty picture: Mimas scuttles behind Dione

Images from the Cassini spacecraft's flyby of Dione.

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.

Scale solar system presentation slide, a provisional version for you to review

I'm preparing a talk for the Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show here in Pasadena on Sunday afternoon at 1:45. I have spent the morning putting together a slide that I have long wanted to have for presentations.

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.

Pretty movie: Everything in the Saturn system is in motion!

A few weeks ago a producer for a public television space documentary asked me if I knew of any cool Cassini animations and my answer was,

Congratulations to the Dawn team on their orbit entry & pretty pictures!

There's a new orbital mission on the map! As of Friday, the relatively small mass of the asteroid Vesta has finally taken hold of its new artificial satellite, Dawn.

LPSC 2011: Day 4: Ted Stryk on icy moons and The Moon

Here are Ted Stryk's notes from the sessions he attended in the afternoon of Thursday, March 10, at the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

LPSC 2011: Wanted: Pioneer 10 & 11 digital data

This is both a Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) update and a public service announcement. Ted Stryk has been working for years to locate the original Pioneer 10 and 11 image data from the Jupiter and Saturn encounters.

Mimas wanders in to view

Cassini's busy downlinking photos from yesterday's close pass by Enceladus, including some neat shots of Dione and this one where Mimas skipped briefly in to the field of view.

How to Recognize Titan from Quite a Long Way Away

You know, I could fill this blog almost entirely with the amazing images that Gordan Ugarkovic locates, processes into prettiness, and uploads to his Flickr account.

New maps of Enceladus and other moons

Every time Cassini gets reasonably close to one of the moons of Saturn, whether the close approach is a targeted one or just an opportunistic encounter, its planners usually take advantage of the proximity to take a bunch of photos.

A feast of pretty pictures from Cassini

Cassini has it almost too easy. Point at anything in the Saturn system and you're guaranteed of a shot that looks, at least, pretty.

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