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

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.

Cassini begins a year of icy moon encounters with a flyby of Rhea

At last! Cassini is orbiting in Saturn's ring plane again. I do enjoy the dramatic photographs of Saturn's open ring system that Cassini can get from an inclined orbit, and we won't be getting those again for another year. But with an orbit close to the ring plane, Cassini can repeatedly encounter Saturn's icy moons, and icy moon flybys are my favorite thing about the Cassini mission.

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.

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

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.

Cassini animations: Rhea and Dione and Titan

I've been mucking about in the Cassini data archives (as I often do when procrastinating) and unearthed a neat, if short, mutual event sequence of two crescent moons passing by each other.

New names for Rhea

I learned today from Jason Perry that 42 new crater names have been approved by the International Astronomical Union for Rhea, the second largest of Saturn's moons.

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.

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