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 'portrait' Category


Friday, July 17th, 2015

Shown above is an early best guess at Pluto’s actual colors. The “color” image that has saturated all forms of media is actually just a monochrome with the colors seen earlier in the mission laid over it. So that is really just an artificial duotone. Shown above is a gorgeous color image with best-guesses at Pluto’s true colors based upon chemical maps made by New Horizons.

MOM is at Mars

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

You know how your Mother will always take the most predictable pictures at the holidays? Well, the Mars Orbiter Mission has done exactly that with it’s recent global image of Mars and it turns out to actually be quite a rare image. Despite so many probes being active at Mars at once, most are too close to the planet to be able to capture a full disc image like this. (more…)

Ganymede Looking Better, Thanks Ted

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Another new near global image of Ganymede by Ted Stryk. He has been producing new views of this Galilean moon for a while now from the old Galileo image sets which were compromised by a glitch that effected the entire mission.

Click on it… it’s large.

Saturn Portrait Rings Unlit

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

We have had our share of global Saturn portraits, but I do believe this is the first taken where the rings are unlit by the sun. An interesting alternate view provided by Gordan Ugarkovic (as usual).

Wallpaper: Mercury Portrait Updated

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Wallpaper: Mercury Portrait Updated Jan 2008
Seemed about time to update the old Mercury “portrait” wallpaper to the new Messenger Mercury “portrait”. It seems possible this color view of Mercury may be replaced again by a better view from the coming October Messenger flyby of Mercury (or perhaps by yet unreleased images from the January flyby), but for now this sure does it.

NOTE: This is a re-post, the image has been updated with Gordan Ugarkovic’s colors as the official NASA version had a good amounf of false colors which gave many details a blueish hue that would not be visible to human eyes.

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: Iapetus Bright Portrait

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Wallpaper: Iapetus Bright Portrait

It had to happen… regularly featured on this site Gordan Ugarkovic stitches together an awesome hi-res full globe image of Iapetus only a few days after the closest approach (see previous post for even larger sized wallpaper for bigger monitors). I usually only label an image a “portrait” once for each body, but seeing as Iapetus has two different sides… I think it deserves two. Here is the darker side imaged earlier in 2005.

Wallpapers: Some of the Minor Moons

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Wallpaper: Phobos Portrait
Phobos, moon of Mars.

Wallpaper: Deimos
Deimos, moon of Mars.

Wallpaper: Mimas Portrait
Mimas, moon of Saturn.

Wallpaper: Earth Portrait

Friday, August 10th, 2007

Wallpaper: Earth Portrait

You have probably seen this image of the Earth before. This was the way the Earth appeared to the final astronauts to land on the moon in 1972. It has since become the quintessential Earth portrait, used more often than any other global image of the Earth. This is probably due to its beauty but also worth mentioning the relative rarity with which we get to see a full globe image taken of the Earth in one snapshot. Only missions and probes that leave the vicinity of the Earth are able to do this and some other popular Earth portraits have been taken by Galileo, Messenger… there is the famous Earth/Moon portrait taken by Voyager 1 and of course several from various Apollo missions.

Wallpaper: Phoebe Portrait

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Wallpaper: Phoebe Portrait

A few posts back I uploaded a closer detail of this same image. This is the best “portrait” image of Phoebe available taken by Cassini on its way into the Saturn system and orbit insertion. Being so far out from the rest of the most dle scientific targets (4x as far as Iapetus), this was the only up-close visit planned to the tiny moon who’s size is about 220km average width.

Wallpaper: Ariel Portrait

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Wallpaper: Ariel Portrait

Ariel is the third of the five larger moons or Uranus. It is somewhat similar to Saturn’s Rhea in composition, about 30% rock and 70% ices. There are obvious ridges and details that would appear to be somewhat “young” features (which is still quite old to you and me), but there is little known about this moon as it was only viewed once from 127,000 km by Voyager 2.

Wallpaper: Europa Portrait Render

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Wallpaper: Europa Portrait Render
The previous Europa portrait posted here, is the most commonly seen image of the full globe of Europa. Even though there have been multiple missions to Jupiter and its system of moons (including an orbiter which stuck around for quite a while)… there are surprisingly few full globe images of Europa. The one used in the previous post mentioned was compiled through several filters but due to some incomplete data, an artificial green haze appears at the right edge of the disc. Considering the scientific importance of Europa and its unique appearance makes a full globe view of this world highly desirable in my mind.

Enter Tayfun Öner who is the author of the above render. This model was created by stitching together a map of the Europan surface from a multitude of images. At this point in history, a good amount of Europa has been photographed and allows one to make an almost complete surface map as seen below. The clearest and best resolved regions of the map are likely from the Galileo mission and where gaps appeared from that mission the spaces were filled in with images taken by Voyager. Euro Map I usually prefer straight photography for the puposes of this site, but this is one of the most impressive renders I have ever seen of any body in the solar system. Seeing as how data sets for full global images of Europa are flawed at best… this render does the job most impressively. The full hi-res set of Europa maps by Tayfun can be found here for the curious.

Wallpaper: Rhea Portrait

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Wallpaper: Rhea Portrait

Rhea is the second largest of Saturn’s moons but lacks any of the exciting features of some of the others. It has some of the “wispy” features that have been determined to be ice cliffs on Dione, but they are far less prominent here. Just another big ball of water ice for future earth visitors to mine for resources!

Wallpaper: Tethys Portrait

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Wallpaper: Tethys Portrait

One of the mid-sized moons of Saturn, Tethys, is thought to be composed almost entirely of water ice. Its most remarkable features are Odysseus, a 400 km wide crater and the Ithaca Chasma a 2,000 km long valley that runs across 2/3 of Tethy‘s globe. Those features are not visible in this image, but what is visible is the slight color variation which almost appears as a “dusting” of color on a largely grey body. A curious feature especially considering the radical color variation found at Iapetus. Perhaps this discoloring is a more subtle result of the same event which caused the strange color variation on Iapetus?

Wallpaper: Dione Portrait

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Saturn’s moon Dione seen at almost full disk. Recently the “wispy” markings have been revealed to be giant ice cliffs as seen by the Cassini spacecraft after coming close to 500km from the surface. The cliffs reach as high as several hundred meters high and are thought to be the result of ancient tectonic fractures.