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 October, 2009

Umbriel, Moon of Uranus

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

A view of Umbriel from Voyager 2 in 1986. Thanks to Ted Stryk who specializes in re-imaging images from old missions with today’s advanced computing. There are few images of this place and no missions planned any time soon… so these may be all we ever see of it in our lifetime.

The most interesting detail revealed in these images is the bright white disk that appears at the top of this image which is actually at the equator. Since the Uranian system is turned on its side almost 90 degrees to the rest of the solar system, Voyager passed all of its moons at nearly the same time. The orientation means we are actually seeing the southern pole nearly straight on in both these images. Such an unusually high-contrast feature reminds one of Saturn’s strange moon Iapetus. It could be the same phenomenon that made Iapetus look the way it does may have also been at work on Umbriel.

Daily Galaxy

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Comet Halley Clean Up

Not at all meant as a “gotcha” at all… but I just love when I take the time to clean these up and people start using these my clean-ups over the ones officially released. Daily Galaxy posted my Comet Halley clean up and I knew I recognized it as my handy work. They most likely got it off Google image search.

Enceladus: All In One View

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Seen in this image are Enceladian surface features and it’s geysers in action. This is normally not possible as the geysers are not normally visible unless they are back-lit… which they are in this image. The difference is that the surface details of Enceladus are being lit by an additional light source: Saturnshine. This makes for a fairly rare view where both details can be seen in one view.

50 Years of Space Exploration Map

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

This is so nice, but I am furious that I didn’t get to design this. This is Information design at it’s best naturally by National Geographic. You can see 50 years of robotic planetary exploration at a glance. It even includes failed missions represented by darker desaturated lines. As far as I can tell the cream colored lines are US and the red ones are Soviet. Interesting to see how many of those lines go dark around Mars.

Now where does one purchase such a thing? Perhaps this month’s issue of NG? Here is the link to it on their site complete with zoom viewer and them some kind samaritan posted a hires version to flickr.

A Saturnian Aurora Captured

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Astro0 (a contributor to had been looking through a 159 frame set of images that showed a tiny portion of Saturn’s sunlit limb. He animated it just to see the effect and happened upon a pretty nice animation of a Saturnian aurora (click here for the animation). Which is likely the first time we are seeing an aurora on another world so clearly animated.

To be clear… the spots that stand still in the animation are artifacts of the images. The streaks are stars seemingly flying by due to Cassini’s cameras being trained on one spot as it and Saturn itself are moving through space. Astro0’s blog can be found here and I suspect will soon feature a post with more details on the animation in the very near future.

Messenger’s Third

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Messenger passed by Mercury for a third and final time before it’s orbit insertion in 2011. It entered safe mode during this swing and lost a bunch of science, but the loss is merely one of time as Messenger’s long-term mission will surely cover anything missed this time around.