Ride Along With Rhea

Assembled from 29 raw images taken by the Cassini orbiter on Monday, April 25, this animation brings us along an orbital ride with Rhea as it crosses Saturn’s nighttime face, the planet’s shadow cast across the ringplane. Sister moons Dione and Tethys travel the opposite lane in the background, eventually appearing to sink into Saturn’s…

Spray It, Don’t Say It

Cassini’s done it again…images of Enceladus’ south-pole jets in all their icy glory are in from yesterday’s flyby! The one shown here, a raw image that I’ve rotated 180º (so south is “down”) shows the moon lit partly by sunlight (the sliver of white crescent along the left) and partly by “Saturnshine” (reflected sunlight off…

A Sphere of Ice

Here’s a wonderfully crisp portrait of Saturn’s moon Rhea, taken by Cassini on October 17, 2010 at an altitude of 24,300 miles. Illuminated on the right by sunlight, the left hemisphere is dimly lit by reflected light from Saturn. Rhea is Saturn’s second-largest moon after Titan, but at 950 miles across (compared to 3,200) Rhea is…

Multi Moons

    I can’t even begin to say how many moons Cassini captured in this raw image, taken yesterday October 6! I see Epimetheus and Janus and Pan and Daphnis (I think) and…Atlas?….and…and……..is that Tethys at the bottom? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that this is a whole lot of moons…

A Cassini Composition

Cassini took this beautiful image of a crescent-lit Enceladus shadowed against Saturn’s silhouette during Friday’s flyby, demonstrating once again its uncanny ability to capture wonderfully-composed shots that illustrate the inherent beauty of our family of planets. Enceladus is the now-famous moon with “jet-power”…continually erupting geysers spray water ice out into space from long “tiger stripe”…

Ice World

662-mile-wide Tethys, as seen by Cassini on March 3, 2010. Part of the 1200-mile-long Ithaca Chasma can be seen on its western edge, running north to south. With a density .97 times that of liquid water, Tethys is almost completely made of ice. Image has been adjusted to bring out surface details. Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science…

The Trailing Trojan

In a bit of more flyby goodness here’s a photo of Calypso, taken in ultraviolet light, showing nice shading on its surface and some interesting streak patterns that seem to follow the contours of the potato-shaped moon. This image was taken on Saturday, February 13, at a distance of about 14,000 miles. 19-mile-long Calypso is…

Rising from the Haze

  No, it’s not the Enterprise emerging from Titan’s clouds, it’s Tethys, seen in the distance through the larger moon’s outer layer of hydrocarbon haze. Tethys’ giant Odysseus crater is easily visible adorning its north pole and slicing into its terminator. This image was taken on November 26, 2009 by the Cassini spacecraft at a…

Enceladus and Rhea

In another stately pas de deux as seen from the point of view of the Cassini spacecraft, moons Rhea and Enceladus slip past each other in their eternal travels around Saturn. This animation is made up of 20 raw images from Cassini, taken on November 15, level-adjusted and rotated 90º clockwise. Enceladus is about to…

Photojacked!

In a bit of sisterly silliness, Rhea appears to have photojacked an otherwise lovely portrait of her big sister Titan in this image from Cassini! An honest mistake, I’m sure….the smaller moon quickly realized her transgression and exited the scene shortly after: 🙂 In all seriousness though, these photos illustrate the amazing differences in Saturn’s…

Sister Moons

Little Tethys is getting a lot of face time in front of Cassini’s lens. In this photo, from a raw image taken on October 17, Tethys passes across the hazy face of her much larger sister, Titan. 662-mile-wide Tethys is dwarfed by the 3,200-mile-wide Titan, although the distance that separates them in this image reduces…

Just Passing By

Tethys, shown in my previous post, orbits Saturn outside the rings in this animation made from 17 raw images taken by Cassini. After passing the dark side of Saturn Tethys follows the curve of the rings, and is passed on the “inside track” by the smaller Mimas (top). Meanwhile another moon, perhaps Atlas or Pandora,…