Singular Spot

Singular Spot

The moon Mimas casts a shadow and creates a single blemish on the kingly crescent of Saturn. Mimas is not shown in this view, but its shadow can be seen on the planet just north of the rings and their shadow. This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 25, 2009 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.5 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 116 degrees. Image scale is 144 kilometers (90 miles) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Milky Way Sidelined in Galactic Tug of War

Milky Way Sidelined in Galactic Tug of War

The Magellanic Stream is an arc of hydrogen gas spanning more than 100 degrees of the sky as it trails behind the Milky Way’s neighbor galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, has long been thought to be the dominant gravitational force in forming the Stream by pulling gas from the Clouds. A new computer simulation by Gurtina Besla (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and her colleagues now shows, however, that the Magellanic Stream resulted from a past close encounter between these dwarf galaxies rather than effects of the Milky Way.

[SOURCE: www.cfa.harward.edu]

Shadows Everywhere

Shadows Everywhere

Shadows seem ubiquitous in this Cassini spacecraft view of Saturn’s rings captured shortly after the planet’s August 2009 equinox. The moon Pan (28 kilometers, or 17 miles across) casts a long shadow towards the right from where it orbits in the Encke Gap of the A ring in the upper right of the image. A structure in the thin F ring casts a short shadow on that ring in the upper left of the image. Kinky ringlets in the Encke Gap also cast many shadows in the middle and lower portions of the image, but some of those shadows appear faint. The novel illumination geometry that accompanies equinox lowers the sun’s angle to the ringplane, significantly darkens the rings, and causes out-of-plane structures to look anomalously bright and cast shadows across the rings. These scenes are possible only during the few months before and after Saturn’s equinox, which occurs only once in about 15 Earth years. Before and after equinox, Cassini’s cameras have spotted not only the predictable shadows of some of Saturn’s moons (see Across Resplendent Rings), but also the shadows of newly revealed vertical structures in the rings themselves (see A Small Find Near Equinox). Two background stars are visible in this image. This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from about 11 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 19, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 miles) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Recalling Voyager

Recalling Voyager

Like the Voyager spacecraft that came before, the Cassini spacecraft chronicles ”wispy” terrain on Saturn’s moon Dione. See Dione’s Icy Wisps to view another image of these bright fractures on the moon’s trailing hemisphere. This view looks toward the area between the Saturn-facing side and trailing hemisphere of Dione (1,123 kilometers, or 698 miles across). North is up. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 26, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1 million kilometers (621,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 42 degrees. Image scale is 6 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Pan-STARRS Discovers Its First Potentially Hazardous Asteroid

Pan-STARRS Discovers Its First Potentially Hazardous Asteroid

The Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) PS1 telescope has discovered an asteroid that will come within 4 million miles of Earth in mid-October. The object is about 150 feet in diameter and was discovered in images acquired on September 16, when it was about 20 million miles away.

It is the first “potentially hazardous object” (PHO) to be discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey and has been given the designation “2010 ST3.”

[SOURCE: www.cfa.harward.edu]

Titan Flyby (T-72) – Sept. 24, 2010

Titan Flyby (T-72) - Sept. 24, 2010

During this high altitude flyby (8,175 kilometers, or 5,080 miles, at closest approach), the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) maps an equatorial region of the trailing hemisphere known as Belet at a resolution of 5 kilometers (3 miles) per pixel. This mosaic will complement the mosaics that were obtained during T-66 and T-67. After closest approach, VIMS performs a global mapping of Titan looking for clouds at northern mid-latitudes and near the poles. The imaging science subsystem (ISS) rides-along with VIMS throughout. + View Flyby Page

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Conjoined Moons

Conjoined Moons

Looking like half of a figure eight, two of Saturn’s moons appear conjoined in this Cassini spacecraft image. The moon Dione, at the top in the image, is actually closer to the spacecraft here. However, because of the similar albedo, or reflectivity, of the two moons and because of the location of a particularly large crater near the south polar region of Dione, the moon appears to blend seamlessly with Rhea. The large, faint crater Evander is centered at about 57 degrees south latitude, 145 degrees west longitude and can also be seen in the Dione south polar map (see Dione Polar Maps – February 2010). Lit terrain seen here is on the anti-Saturn side of Dione (1,123 kilometers, or 698 miles across) and on the area between the anti-Saturn and leading hemisphere on Rhea (1,528 kilometers, or 949 miles across). The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 27, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometers (684,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 78 degrees. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.6 million kilometers (994,000 miles) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 78 degrees. Image scale is 7 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel on Dione and 10 kilometers (6 miles) on Rhea. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Space Calendar September 27 – October 3 2010

Space related activities and anniversaries for September 27 – October 3 2010. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

Crescents Large and Small

Crescents Large and Small

A small crescent of the moon Rhea is dwarfed by the larger crescent of Saturn. Rhea (1,528 kilometers, or 949 miles across) can be seen in the upper right of the image. This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 3 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 15, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.6 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 98 degrees. Image scale is 153 kilometers (95 miles) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Flying by Epimetheus

Flying by Epimetheus

Swinging by Saturn’s small moon Epimetheus, Cassini snapped this shot during the spacecraft’s April 7, 2010, flyby. See Epimetheus Revealed and Epimetheus: Up-Close and Colorful for even closer views from earlier flybys. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing side of Epimetheus (113 kilometers, or 70 miles across). North on Epimetheus is up and rotated 27 degrees to the left. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 87,000 kilometers (54,000 miles) from Epimetheus and at a Sun-Epimetheus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 69 degrees. Image scale is 519 meters (1,703 feet) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]