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 'Enceladus' Category

Mimas Wanders Into the Frame

Monday, December 27th, 2010

The Saturnian moon Mimas wanders into the frame of this shot which was primarily observing the active geysers on Enceladus.

The Plumes of Enceladus

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Back and front lit plumes

This is the best lit image taken of the plumes of Enceladus thus far by Cassini. The moon is lit from the front by Saturnshine and the plumes are being back-lit by the Sun directly behind. A perfect alignment for revealing active geysers on a small moon.

Sometimes Raw Images are Enough

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Raw image of Enceladus

This image is taken directly from the Cassini raw images directory. Sometimes they are perfect with no need for adjustment or correction. The best detail is the subtle haze of the geysers spewing on the right edge. Taken April 26 from 987,839 kilometers away.

Okay, Set Scene: Rings, Titan, Geysers…

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

This composite has been kicked around a bunch on Contained within it are two separate images taken by the Cassini mission at nearly the same time but different exposures. Looking at this scene with human eyes, the big difference would likely be that the geysers would not be blown out and would look more like a multiple of gentle hazes spewing upward. The other big difference would be that you were somehow on a mission to Saturn and not browsing the web.

Above are the two original exposures. These were merely combined with a photo editing tool. The geyser haze was blurred in areas to clean out compression artifacts and the color was artistically added by Gordan Ugarkovic. While the color is artificially generated, it does accurately reflect the same overall appearance of most natural light images of Titan.

Through the Plumes!

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Gordan of course.

The Fountains of Enceladus

Friday, November 27th, 2009

This has to be one of the greatest, most alien images ever taken from robotic spacecraft. It approaches how I might expect Enceladus to be depicted if it were in a Star Trek movie. As if the plumes at the edge of the disk back-lit by the Sun were not enough… the trail of smaller plumes breaking through the darkness is absolutely fantastic. The above is a real image but the color is an artistic interpretation by someone would know. Considering how little color is usually found at Enceladus, we can image this is really as good as if it were compiled from a full RGB set of filters. A larger monotone of the same image here.

This image was compiled by Astro0 on Also one of the best views staring down the length of one of Enceladus’ “tiger stripes”.

Ever so sharp look straight down on the South Pole of Enceladus from 1,855 km.

The Plumes of Enceladus in Color (kind of)

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Like the Saturnshine image posted earlier, this is only an estimation of a true color image. Five sources were used to compile this image; clear 1, clear 2, red, blue and another clear filtered image was used to replace the missing green to round it out (this work by S_Walker from We then additionally cleaned out artifacts from the original images and blurred the surrounding geyser haze largely to eliminate posterization noise.

This is the first time anyone has been able to attempt a true color view of the geysers with the availability of the red and blue images. Also a bonus is the considerable amount of Saturnshine seen on the dark side of the moon.

Enceladus at 9,988 km

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

More coming. Looks like a nice encounter.

Dueling Enceladian Light Sources

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Gordan U compiled this image of Enceladus lit both by Sun and Saturnshine. The side lit by reflected light from Saturn is in infrared and in the original appeared in a green hue. I took some liberties and imaged it as I would imagine it really would appear to the eye in Saturn’s more orange/yellow hues.

Worth noting tomorrow the images are due in from Cassini’s closest approach yet through its plumes. Hoping for some amazing material.

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.

iPhone Skins Featured on

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Not to re-post old material, but our iPhone planetary skins were recently posted to for free download. So I thought I would just remind everyone and maybe direct a little traffic love their way. 

More Gordan U

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Some recent posts from Gordan Ugarkovic. The first is just gorgeous, the second featuring Prometheus and Pan in the gaps, the third is also just real pretty and the 4th is two sides of Enceladus. The 2nd and 4th of these images are false color which we publish less often, but these were just too nice to deny.

Saturn Through the Eyes of Hubble

Friday, April 10th, 2009

You may have seen this already, but we were keeping it on the side for a slow image week. What makes the photo more exciting than the hundreds of Cassini images coming back daily, is that you can see 4 of Saturn’s moons as well: Titan, Enceladus, Mimas and Dione.

Friend a Moon on Facebook

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

It is true. You can become friends with all the best moons on Facebook these days. Who wouldn’t want to get closer to Io. Maybe get to know better Jupiter’s moon Europa. Maybe you live in the same Solar System as Enceladus?!

At Closest Approach

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

At Closest Approach Oct 31, 2008

Sorry for the delay on this one… its remarkably similar to the last close approach images from August. This image, taken from 1,691 kilometers, also shows the areas surrounding the plume sources to be boulder strewn which suggests that occasionally some large sized chunks of internal Enceladus are ejected from within.

This approach and the previous only weeks ago are to be combined as a double research header. This encounter was largely for hi-res imaging while the previous was to “sniff” out the chemical composition of those plumes. The next close encounter (like this) for Enceladus will not be for another year, so lets hope these two encounters give us a clearer picture of what is actually happening inside this small wonder.

Check out this massive composite of the encounter released by JPL:

Oct 31 Composite