The Frightful Fallacy of “False Color”

I rarely ever reblog posts, but this is an excellent criticism on the term “false color” and its oft-maligned perception by the modern public, and also a support of coloration techniques used in astronomy to produce the beautiful — and scientifically valuable — space images we have all come to enjoy (and expect!) By Dr….

From the LITD Archives: Sinking the Shot

Alan Shepard may have played some moon golf during his visit in 1971 but even he wouldn’t have been up to par with this course. šŸ˜‰ This photo shows the trail of a house-sized (33-foot-wide) lunar boulder that has rolled downhill and come to rest inside the rim of a crater. The image was taken…

From the LITD Archives: A Primordial Moon

A beautiful Cassini color-composite by Gordan Ugarkovic, this false-color image shows the ancient and heavily-cratered surface of Saturn’s moon Phoebe. Irregularly-shaped and bout 132 miles across, Phoebe is a fifteenth the size of our own moon but is believed to be much, much older. With its retrograde (backwards) orbit, high orbital incline and extremely dark,…

From the LITD Archives: Saturn’s Southern Storm

Originally posted on March 3, 2009: A great spiraling whirlpool of wind-whipped clouds wraps around Saturn’s southern pole, photographed here in polarized infrared light by Cassini on July 15, 2008. Towering white clouds mark areas of rising heat from deep within the atmosphere. The winds around the vortex have been measured at over 300 mph….

From the LITD Archives: But What About Venus?

Originally posted on April 7, 2009, only two months after Lights in the Dark launched: I haven’t posted anything yet about our other neighboring planet, Venus, mostly because the currently active mission exploring it, the European Space Agency’s Venus Express orbiter, hasn’t been updating much with new images since I’ve begun this site. Still, Venus…

From the LITD Archives: You Are Here

Here’s an image that always blows my mind: it’s our planet as seen by the exploration rover Spirit on March 8, 2004, 63 Martian days into its mission. It’s the first image of Earth taken from the surface of another planet. The official description says: The image is a mosaic of images taken by the…

From the LITD Archives: Sheer Elegance

Originally posted on March 13, 2009, here’s a quick reprint in honor of Cassini’s return to business! Viewed from the unlit side, the delicate transparency of Saturn’s innermost “C” Ring becomes apparent in this photo. Saturn’sĀ upperĀ atmospheric haze can be seen through the dark material of the rings. This photo shows a natural color view. Image…

From the LITD Archives: Wave Forms

(Originally posted on June 27, 2009)Ā Cast shadows reveal some interesting structure in the waves sent up by little Daphnis in this image, taken by the Cassini spacecraft on June 26, 2009. Daphnis orbits Saturn within the 26-mile-wide Keeler gap in the A ring. Its gravity disrupts the edges of the gap, carving scalloped edges in…

Wave Forms

Cast shadows reveal some interesting structure in the waves sent up by little Daphnis in this image, taken by the Cassini spacecraft on June 26, 2009. Daphnis orbits Saturn within the 26-mile-wide Keeler gap in the A ring. Its gravity disrupts the edges of the gap, carving scalloped edges in the ring material and also,…