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 the 'Mercury' Category

Mercury From 5,000 km

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

Mercury From 5,000 km

Closer images are beginning to appear. This image comes from around 20 minutes after the closest approach.

Oh… and the mission site for those of you intrigued enough to follow more data driven material.

Mercury From 27,000 km

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Mercury From 27,000 km

Going backwards in progress… this is from 80 minutes before closest approach.

Mercurian Horizon

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Mercury From 18,000 km

Looking at the inbound horizon about 55 mins before closest approach.

Mercury From 18,000 km

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Mercury From 18,000 km

This is much further away than the closest approach. More to come.

Messenger Reveals Unseen Mercury

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Little coming in from Messenger at this point due to some unexpected bandwidth issues at the receiving stations. Apparently there has been some Ulysses (a separate Solar observing mission) anomaly that needed tending to and has taken up the available bandwidth that had been planned for Messenger’s data. The data is reportedly fine and ready for transmission to Earth, just a delay.

Mercury as seen by Messenger on Jan 14, 2008

For now the mission team has released this view of Mercury from the historic swing by on January 14. Much (if not all) of this image represents areas on the planet never before seen by human eyes. Very moon-like… hoping for something to come from this encounter that will be visually exciting for we the unwashed-masses. That said, scientists and the planetary sort are thrilled to be seeing this local neighbor which has been long overdue for a follow-up mission to the Mariner mission of 33 years ago.

Mercury Here We Come

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Messenger Approching Mercury Jan 15 2008

Today’s flyby will come as close as 200km from the surface. That is comparable to some of the close flybys of the Saturnian moons made by Cassini.

See here for Ted’s colorization of this image based upon his Mariner 10 work.

Mariner 10 Image Made New

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Mariner 10 Image in Color

According to Ted Stryk (a regularly featured imager) this image has been under construction for over a year (higher resolution available here). If you are unaware, to date… no color images have seen the light of day from the 1973 Mariner 10 encounter. So it is with unexpected shock that we are granted this fine image from an old encounter the night before we are expected to be dazzled with a plethora of new Messenger images.

Although different missions are handled differently than others, we may not be granted all images as soon as they are received here on Earth. For example, Cassini has its images open almost immediately through the raw files link… while ESA makes us wait (and still does) while they release “official” images and other reports to the press. The Cassini method is far greater an option as freelance imagers will get color composites up and available hours after an encounter while you may wait weeks for the official imaging team to get around to making color composites for public consumption. I fear the latter will be true of Messenger (especially as Mercury is not expected to be an overly colorful place), but most US based planetary missions have been great about sharing the wealth practically in real time… hopefully Messenger follows the trend.

So enjoy this for now — as stated by JRehling at unmannedspaceflight, “The best Mercury image in mankind’s history — for another week.”

Messenger at Mercury in 2 Days

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Nothing to show at this point (except some distant calibration images), but Messenger will arrive at Mercury on January 14th. This is the first visit to the tiniest planet since 1973. On that visit the Mariner spacecraft flew by the same region 3 different times — therefore leaving more than 50% of this planet yet unseen by human eyes. With the arrival of Messenger, most of what has not yet been imaged will be revealed in 2 more additional flybys and surely 100% will be revealed once Messenger achieves orbital insertion in 2011. With the exception of Pluto and its partner Charon, Mercury represents one of the largest pieces of real estate not yet mapped or imaged by some kind of probe in all our solar system.

The iPhone Set 01: Bodies of Major Interest

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

The iPhone Set 01: Bodies of Major Interest

If I am going to keep making these things… I’d be a fool to not include a set for the Apple iPhone. Coincidentally, when you purchase your iPhone and do not yet have a phone service, the phone displays a full-disc image of the Earth pretty much displayed exactly as these do when uploaded to your iPhone. So in the spirit of continuity, you can now opt instead to have Mercury, Venus, Earth, The Moon (Luna), Mars, Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Saturn, Enceladus, Titan, Iapetus, Hyperion, Uranus, Miranda, Neptune or Triton grace your screen instead of the default Earth.

The easiest way to install wallpapers to your iPhone is to make a special set in iPhoto and simply drag all the files to that folder. Then in iTunes have your iPhone sync that folder to your photos collection. After that it is as simple as opening the “Photos” area of your iPhone. Go to your new folder of images and open whichever image you want. Then tap on the image just once and assign it as a wallpaper using the “Use as Wallpaper” button in the lower left corner of the screen.

If you have a PC I have no idea in hell how the hell you get images into your iPhone. I would buy a Mac… you have an iPhone and use iTunes… you are half-way there.

For a version of these with no graphics see this link.

Wallpaper 2560×1600 Set 03: The Planets

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

The planets – the complete set for collectors! While there are literally thousands of images of the planets to choose from… full globe high resolution images are actually fairly rare. They usually require many exposures to be stitched together to make one large complete image. This is not only difficult to work out across the great distances of space, but also soaks up a large amount of valuable spacecraft time and energy. This set represents the best available images of each planet in our Solar System.

Wallpaper 2560x1600 Set 03

Sorry, no Pluto for more than one reason.

Wallpaper: Mercury Portrait

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

Wallpaper: Mercury

Sadly, Mercury has got to be the least interesting of the planets. It lacks any moons, lacks any substantial atmosphere and seems at a glance to be a duplicate of our own moon. At this point in time there has only been one mission to study Mercury up-close, Mariner 10 in 1973, so our information is quite limited. However, there is a mission on its way to Mercury right now named Messenger as well as a European/Japanese effort name Bepi-Columbo. Perhaps those missions will enlighten us all to things unseen on Mercury.

NOTE: This “portrait” wallpaper has been updated with a more recent color image taken during the January 2008 Messenger flyby.

Wallpaper: Mercury Up Close

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

Wallpaper: Mercury Close Up

No, its not our moon… its the planet Mercury. This is one of the best detailed images ever returned of Mercury and will likely remain so until Messenger reaches the planet in 2008 with an orbital insertion in 2011.