Category Archives: Images

Another Mars panorama on the way?

I was browsing the latest posted raw images from the Mars rover Opportunity and I couldn’t help but notice a sequence of Panoramic Camera images overlapped at the edges. I stitched together 5 of of these images (Left Panoramic Camera : Filter 2 (753nm near-infrared) : Non-linearized : Full frame EDR acquired on Sol 891) to create the panorama below.

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Raw image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

If you’ve read any of the recent posts here you’ll know I’m a huge fan of the “gee whiz” factor when it comes to astronomical/space related images, so for kicks and giggles I created a colorized version as well. This is in NO WAY an accurate representation of true color. It is simply my “gee whiz” approximation.

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Raw image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

I’d love to tell you exactly where the rover is and the direction these images represent but the “Where Are the Rovers Now?” page is about 13 Sols (Martian days) behind the current position. I believe Opportunity is somewhere near Beagle Crater on it’s way to Victoria Crater. Perhaps in a future update I will be able to add the geographic details regarding these images. Here was the location as of Sol 878.

Image credit: OSU Mapping and GIS Laboratory

Of Occultations and Animations

In the last few posts I’d created some animations out of raw Cassini images sequences. In my most recent post I mentioned wanting to see more animations from the folks that operate Cassini, if only for the “gee whiz” factor. It would seem the folks at JPL and the Space Science Institute have answered the call — or it’s just timely coincidence.

A News Release dated yesterday on the Cassini project website contains a handful of breathtaking animations of some of Saturn’s moons. I’d like to think my post had something to do with it, but either way I’m glad to see it. It’s really good stuff.

I leave you with this striking image of Enceladus occulting Titan.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

A complete description and a full resolution image can be found here.

Another Animation From Cassini

Once again while browsing the latest raw images from Cassini, I noticed this image sequence. It was shot on June 10th with the camera pointed toward Enceladus which was approximately 3,911,272 kilometers away. Enceladus is the little black dot occulting Titan with the mid-point of the occultation occurring on June 10, around about 15:39 UT (best guess observing Enceladus from Cassini in Starry Nightâ„¢ Pro 5). I cropped and combined the images in Photoshop to create this short animation.


Well, because (at least for me anyway) seeing things in motion tends to fire my imagination. I hope I’m not alone here. I think it would behoove the folks that manage Cassini to point the camera at Saturn and image a complete orbit. Imagine the PR value of a big, beautiful, full-color animation of riding Cassini for a “stately” orbit of Saturn. I’m not talking one of those 30 second deals here, I’d like to see it over 5-10 mintues. I don’t know what science benefit such a thing could have — if any — but I’m sure someone somewhere could concoct a reasonable excuse to do it.

On an unrelated note, this year’s festivities have officially commenced here in the Sunshine State. Althouth I certainly don’t mind cashing in my “direct hit voucher” for a lowly tropical storm. Got my fingers crossed.

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Enceladus Occults Tethys

…but you only got to see it if you were riding the Cassini probe orbiting Saturn.

While browsing the latest raw images from Cassini, I found this image sequence shot on June 6th with the camera was pointed toward Enceladus which was approximately 3,904,788 kilometers away. Based on where Cassini was in it’s orbit I’m fairly certain the larger moon is Tethys, with the mid-point of the occultation occurring on June 6, around about 16:04 UT. I cropped and combined the images in Photoshop to create this short animation.

What confounded me at first was how we could be looking at almost the full night side of Enceladus and NOT Tethys. After looking at the orientation from a polar vantage point atop the Saturnian system I could see Tethys was about a quarter of the way into the sunward side of its orbit around Saturn. Enceladus was barely finishing the night side part it’s orbit. We are indeed seeing the night side of Tethys — lit by sunlight reflected off of Saturn.