Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
To start the week, Voyager 2's best image of Tethys.
Although we are still along way from understanding this fascinating little body, Ceres is finally becoming a real planet with recognizable features! And that's kinda cool.
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.
Dawn is on approach to Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, and is starting to resolve features.
Video: see some of the sights Cassini saw this year.
The 45th Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium, usually focused on terrestrial studies, shifted this year to planetary science. Ted Stryk gives us an overview.
A few presentation slides with pretty pictures, sized to scale, of the large moons of the solar system.
Just a pretty global view of one of Saturn's flock of icy moons, newly processed from archival data by Gordan Ugarkovic.
Cassini flew past both Enceladus and Tethys on April 14. Here's a cool animation of its approach to Enceladus' plumes, and a pretty global picture of Tethys.
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.
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.
Last week I got very excited about a set of pictures that had appeared on Cassini's raw images website, but was sad that I couldn't make color versions myself. I was so excited that I failed to identify the little icy moon in the picture correctly.
It figures. I just start a three-week trip, with my only computer a diminutive Netbook, and guess what's just been radioed across the 1.3 billion kilometers separating us and Saturn? A set of photos that should become -- when properly processed -- an iconic image from Cassini's fourteen-year mission to the Saturn system.
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.
Daniel Macháček has reached into the dark side of Prometheus and pulled out an incredible amount of detail where the potato-shaped moon is illuminated by Saturnshine. He produced an animation that morphs among the three sets of four-filter color images that Cassini snapped during the flyby.
Cassini got some incredibly tricky shots during its January 11 Rhea flyby!
Over the last couple of days Cassini flew past Enceladus, Tethys and Dione, so there are lots of treats to see on the raw images website! You should go check it out for yourself, but here are a couple of real favorites.
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.
It's been a little while since I posted any Cassini pictures just because they were pretty, so here's a few recent ones, produced by amateurs from the images available on the Cassini raw images website.
The January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release includes everything acquired by Cassini from January 1 to March 30, 2009 in all its high-quality glory.