You need to upgrade your Flash Player The theme of this blog is not only and obviously space, but in particular “terrestrial worlds”, places that tend to have surfaces on which one could walk or at least attach oneself to. These places sometimes also have other earth-like familiar features such as atmospheres, weather, volcanos, geysers and perhaps, we are finding, even exotic oceans, rivers or lakes that are not necessarily made of familiar materials we are used to here at home. The second theme is imagery. Occasionally I do some retouching of images when needed if an image is incomplete or sometimes “dirty” or noisy. I will attempt to correct image shortcomings based upon other images or well-accepted presumed attributes. When this is done, notes will be offered as to what was added, why and sometimes how it was done. This way no one should ever wonder if something they are looking at is real or photoshop.

Archive for August, 2008

What We Can Do With Old Mission Photos

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Viking 2 Approaches Mars in 1976

These above images of Mars were composited by Emily Lakdawalla and display a staggering improvement over what we have seen published over and over again since the Viking missions took place in the mid-70’s (see below). You may be familiar with the bottom image as it is one of the few images of Mars taken in a crescent phase. I never would have guessed that by simply re-compiling the data with today’s everyday image software, it was possible to bring out the real beauty hidden within the data.

Mars from Viking 2 Looking Bad!

Midnight Sun in Color

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Colorized Martian Sun Phases

“That’s my colourized version of the already-classic “Midnight Sun” image created by the Phoenix team, showing the path of the Sun across the sky as seen by the Phoenix lander. Up near the martian north pole Phoenix is in the martian Land of The Midnight Sun, and the Sun never sets, it just dips down towards and then rolls over the southern horizon at midnight before climbing up again…”

Taken from, a nice Phoenix fan site featuring the best images of the Phoenix mission thus far.

Color of Phoenix

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Phoenix Color Image of the Martian Surface at the Pole

Don’t think we ever posted a true color of the Martian surface from the Phoenix mission yet. This was stitched together by James Canvin. Hopefully the next time we post this view it will be covered with Martian frost. Just in time for Christmas!

Star Is Out Tonight

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Rock Star by Chop Shop

Okay. Not at all space related… but it is star shaped. It’s made of stars… rock stars. At any rate, you can get it at My other day job.

Kaguya Render vs Apollo Photo

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Kaguya Render Vs. Apollo Image

Here is an interesting comparison found on the Japanese Kaguya mission site. The two images shown above are of the Apollo 17 landing site. The top is obviously a photo taken on location by an Apollo astronaut and the lower image is a render from data taken by Kaguya in orbit around the moon. When programmers compile their data to show how the moon looks from the same position as the original Apollo photographer, the results come pretty close to matching. Such a comparison offers an idea of how real other such renders we may see from the mission can be trusted.

Enceladus in Full Color

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Enceladus from Aug 12, 2008

Nice color (close to natural) from July 14, 2005 by Gordan Ugarkovic. The resolution wasn’t very high, so this is as big as it gets.

Nailed It: Vents Pinpointed

Friday, August 15th, 2008

The Cairo Sulcus Vent

Here is one of the vents pinpointed by the Cassini team. This was the only one of the four that seemed obvious to me in appearance. There are boulders scattered throughout the area, but you have to note the larger accumulation of boulders here at the center of this image where one of the 4 vents were revealed. It is conceivable that larger chunks of material (as well as fine particles) could potentially have been spewed from these vents occasionally or perhaps thousands of years ago… or both.

See this and all the other located vents of Baghdad / Cairo Sulci and of Damascus Sulcus at the Cyclops Cassini Imaging site.

The Mound

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

A strange “mound” like feature seen on Enceladus

On Cassini’s close shave of Enceladus it captured and image of what seems to be a strange tall mound of something at middle right. Look at how long a shadow it casts.

This is also in semi-false/true color using infrared, green and ultraviolet for RGB. Can you tell from its richness of color?!

Are We Seeing Venting Here?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Do We See Venting Here?

I am no scientist, but I would think that the wispy soft lines billowing from this fracture on Enceladus are the famed geysers we have seen so much of from a distance (see the upper right side of the fracture in particular). The geysers have been easily seen from more distant and back-lit images taken of Enceladus, and we know this area being imaged is the source. So wouldn’t it be fairly safe to assume that it is happening in several of these frames?

It may just be that the particles are too fine to be seen at this distance. Consider that they previously have only visible at greater distances when the plumes are back-lit in low-light situations. Seeing this activity from this distance may be kind of like trying to see a cloud when you are already in it… only harder.

Enceladus at Closest Approach!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Enceladus from 1288 km

From around 1288 km. Looks like T minus 10 seconds to touch down!

More Enceladus from Around 2000 km

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Enceladus from 1567 km

From 1567 km.

Enceladus from 2621 km

From 2621 km.

Enceladus from 17,495 km

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Tiger Stripes from 17,495

Closest image returned so far. Lots of missing data on the right was duplicated to fill in the gaps. This results in the right side looking lower in resolution than the left.

Data Coming in from Enceladus

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Image of Enceladus

A June 30 image of Enceladus for a teaser. Nothing has yet been posted to the mission site from Cassini’s close shave. Let’s hope there are no glitches this time!

Another Enceladus Pass: Aug 11

Friday, August 8th, 2008

enceladus flyby August 11

Its been slow around here lately, but the Aug 11 planned close flyby of Enceladus should spice things up a bit. Cassini is now in it’s extended mission and Enceladus has been made a secondary target for the coming months with the primary target being the continued exploration of Titan.

Camera + Balloon = Space Photography

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Pentax k10d from High Altitude Balloon

This image was taken from a Pentax k10d attached to a High Altitude Balloon. It was part of an experiment to test a cosmic radiation detector at Oklahoma State University. See the full flickr set here.