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 September, 2009

Saturnati XXIII

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Image by Gordan Ugarkovic.

Galilean Family Portrait

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

I usually do not go for montages of planets for a variety of reasons, but this family portrait of the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter is quite gorgeous. They are easily the most fascinating and beautiful bodies of our system of worlds, save for perhaps Saturn and its rings.

Another work of art by Ted Stryk whose old blog Planetary Images from Then and Now has come back from the dead with vigor!

Is There Water on the Moon?

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

I was away in California for a wedding and my fellow designerds at The Chopping Block made this funny little site (seen above) so people can make the announcement to their friends… or if anyone forgets and needs to be reminded. If you want to be more scholarly about this, the official NASA announcement is here.

What makes the discovery more exciting is that the process by which the water exists on our moon means that it likely also exists on other similarly dry bodies like Mercury and the countless asteroids in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The Enterprise Emerges From Titan

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Nice example of science meets Hollywood.

Partial Eclipse of Titan

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

A nice back-logged image I never posted. Rhea passes in front of Saturn’s larger, hazy moon Titan (which is lit from behind by the sun). Taken June of 2006.

Saturn at Equinox

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

An official NASA image released of Saturn at equinox. You can only see Saturn like this approximately every 15 Earth years as it takes Saturn that long to reach a point in it’s orbit where the ring plane is directly aligned with the sun light. Turning the usually dramatic ring shadows that are cast along Saturn’s cloud tops into a thin black line running around it’s globe.

This composite took 75 separate images of Saturn to complete the full hires version seen here at planetary.org.

Stryk Blog Is Back

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Ted loves to re-work old data sets from older missions with today’s technology. Often the results are visually beautiful and put a new face on old encounters, but occasionally this work also finds new items not seen the first time around. Above is a set of images of Neptune compiled to reveal that Voyager managed to capture the transit of one of its very small moons, Despina, across its face. This was a detail not previously seen until the data was re-worked by Ted.

He is back at updating his blog planetimages.blogspot.com and there are more images to come as some of the posts provide some great opportunities to update our “portrait” series of images. These are images that are tagged as such which feature the best global images of each major body in our Solar System.

Apollo 12 and Surveyor 3

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

This image was taken by LRO of the Apollo 12 landing site. Since Apollo 11 already achieved the objective of landing a man on the surface of the moon and returning him safely to home, one of the main objectives of Apollo 12 was to show landing precision. They did this by selecting the resting place of Surveyor 3 as the area they would like to touch-down and did so impressively by touching down only 200 feet away from the robotic lander. You can therefore see the Intrepid Lander, Surveyor 3, the LDEP experiment as well as a good amount of foot traffic left behind by astronaut feet.

Be sure to click on the image for the full size to see all the detail.

Saturnati XXII

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Emily Lakdawalla recently posted some images from the Cassini raw image database and I noticed that she had posted 2 similar images taken the same day. One had Saturn’s disc over exposed and the other had Saturn exposed much better with the rings too dark and lacking detail. These crescent images often make it difficult for Cassini’s cameras to get a single exposure with both elements with proper exposure because Saturn’s disk is so much brighter than the back-lit rings.

So i retrieved the images from the same day, recompiled them, did a little manual color balancing based on one of Gordan Ugarkovic’s recent crescent Saturn images and finally merged the two elements together. So, in reality the rings were taken at a slightly different time than Saturn’s disc was. However, since Cassini takes it’s color images one filter at a time (red, green and then blue), that is really true of any color image compiled from the mission database.

Also visible in the image is a small crescent Tethys and Titan’s shadow on the cloud tops.