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 'Mimas' Category

Wallpaper: Saturn and Mimas

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Wallpaper: Saturn and Mimas
One of my favorite wallpaper images from the Cassini mission. This image almost looks like one of the fantastic Chesley Bonestell images from the 80’s only its not a painting. What you see are Saturn’s rings along the bottom and tiny Mimas floating across Saturnian cloudtops which are being shadowed by the rings. It is thought that these deep shadows, in addition to Saturn currently being in winter, somehow cause less clouds to form in Saturn’s northern hemisphere and create the blueish appearance seen here. When the Voyager’s passed by Saturn in the 80’s the entire globe appeared to be peach colored and lacked any of the blues you see today.

IMAGE NOTE: The left 1/5 of the image (the rings) is a digital extension of the image data found near the edge of the original image. This was done simply to fill out the proportion as the original was cropped to about 4/5 the the width.

That’s No Moon

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

Mimas and Death Star

In 1977 George Lucas released Star Wars and in it was featured the now infamous Death Star space station which was justly destroyed in the films final scene. That same year Voyager 1 was launched from Earth on its way to the outer solar system. On its way through the Saturnian system it relayed back images of a moon that bore a striking resemblance to Lucas’s own vision of the Death Star.

The only feature that really makes the resemblance complete is the presence of the Herschel crater which, like the Death Star, occupies almost 1/3 the moon’s own diameter. The central peak, which often occurs on larger sized impacts, also makes for a good stand in for the giant laser turret that destroys planets. With results of the Voyager mission streaming in a few years after the film became a smash hit and just a few months after the release of “Empire Strikes Back” one has to wonder if anyone at mission control uttered the words, “That’s no moon”.

However, while the circular feature on the Death Star destroys other worlds, Mimas’s giant circular feature nearly destroyed its own self. The crater is so large in comparison to the size of the moon itself it is believed that it was quite close to shattering the small moon into many bits which maybe could have resulted in even more rings for Saturn. As it is there are fractures on the opposite side of the moon which some suggest may be stress lines from that same impact and show evidence that the moon did start to become unhinged. Proportional to the size of the body itself, this is the largest crater in the Solar System with only Mars’s moon Phobos coming close with its Stickney crater.

Wallpaper: Mimas Against Ring Shadows

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

Wallpaper: Mimas Against Ring-Shadows
In one of Cassini’s more surreal images, the small moon Mimas is seen floating across the ring shadows cast upon Saturn’s cloud-tops. Mimas is a rocky 400km moon whose most notable feature is a 130km crater that dominates its appearance.

IMAGE NOTE: The original image was close to a square cropping, so a large part of the 1/3 left of the image (which is mostly black space) has been extended using data from the rest of the image to duplicate details and fill out the dimensions. The rest is the real deal.