Pretty cool detail caught by two imagers whose work I have been noticing more and more of late. That small blue dot is not Earth, but it is Uranus as it appears from Saturn orbit. Reminds me of this post of our own moon seen with other heavenly bodies within the same frame.
Archive for the 'Uranus' Category
Having followed the activities of a small army of freelance space imagers that lurk in various places on the internet for about 10 years now — it is truly unusual for me to come across images that I know I have not seen before. Michael Benson’s exhibit titled, “Planetfall” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science offers offer fresh views from missions as old as Viking and as new as Cassini. What originally caught my attention was an image of an actively spewing Enceladus that is exposed in both Sun and Saturn shine — a view I have surely seen before, but never so detailed or dramatic. Even more surprising and rare is a new global composite view of Uranus with a complete and continuous ring taken by Voyager almost 30 years ago.
The show ends soon (June 28, 2013) and is located in Washington DC.
You Are The Sun is the latest space themed tee by Chop Shop Store. Following on iconic tees that collected various deep space missions and historic Earth orbit missions, this new design draws a new picture of The Solar System as we know it today, complete with Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot.
With your head as a stand-in for The Sun — the tee includes all 8 planets, 7 major moons, The Asteroid Belt and even details little Pluto lost among countless Kuiper Belt objects. We are now providing yet another link here to get it for Men on American Apparel 2001 or Tultex tees and for Women on American Apparel 2102 tees.
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.
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.
Not to re-post old material, but our iPhone planetary skins were recently posted to fuelyourcreativity.com for free download. So I thought I would just remind everyone and maybe direct a little traffic love their way.
Its not something we are likely to see again anytime soon, so it is especially nice of Ted to re-image these old voyager images. These are the definitive best shots of each of these bodies, with perhaps the exception of Miranda (second from left, note there is a tiny dark moon which is first). Of the Uranian family, Miranda also happens to be the most interesting (of what know) with its cracks and ridges that somewhat resemble those processes happening on Enceladus and Europa.
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.
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.
Sorry, no Pluto for more than one reason.
I am currently on holiday in Doolin, Ireland am not expecting to make any posts during the week. Upon return wanderingspace will be putting a full-time effort into the Carnival of Space (see previous post).
Until then, enjoy this rare occasion of Hubble’s view of Uranus as it’s rings are seen “edge on” for the first time in 42 years. Since the rings were only discovered in the late 70’s this would be the first time we have ever had the opportunity to view them this way.
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.
Of the five moons of Uranus, the only one to really stand out would be Miranda. One look at the moon suggests that some kind of cataclysmic event must have taken place in its past - huge fault canyons and ridges run across its surface. However, newer theories have replaced the idea that Miranda was shattered several times and instead suggest that somehow internal heating has caused lighter materials to rise up in various locations to the surface. Internal heating in smaller objects (Miranda is about 470km wide) is no longer an unexpected thing in the outer solar system. If it is ever confirmed that Miranda does in fact experience internal heating it will join Enceladus, Io and Europa (and possibly others) in this whole new class of body to be explored in the Solar System.
Second only to Mercury, Uranus tends to get the “boring” award from most due to its lack of almost any kind of cloud details. Among its five moons, there also isn’t really that much going on beyond what one might expect from such medium to small sized moons (with the possible exception of Miranda). However, there are a few things about Uranus that strike interest in it like the ring system, its axis is turned to about 98 degrees and more recently Hubble observations suggest that Uranus does have periodic cloud details not seen when Voyager flew past. As fate would have it, Uranus was in an unusually quiet mood in 1986.