The Feeling’s Mutual

Dione slips behind Rhea in this animation made from 19 raw images taken by the Cassini spacecraft on January 20, 2011. Called a mutual event, the two moons seem to just miss each other – even though in reality they are separated by over 93,400 miles! Rhea and Dione are similar in composition and size,….

Turning Fear Around

Here’s a quick animation of Mars’ moon Phobos, made from five images – released today – taken by ESA’s Mars Express during its flyby on January 9, 2011. Passing by the 14-mile-wide moon at a distance of about 62 miles (100 km), Mars Express took images in five HRSC channels…I combined those to create this….

Lunar Highlands

  In another rare oblique-angle view from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter we get a look at the hilly highland terrain around a lunar crater called Vertregt J. The image above shows a shadow being cast by a cratered ridge…check out the image at right for a larger zoomable view of the region. (This area is on…

A Peak Inside

Here’s a close-up look at the central peak of our moon’s Aitken Crater, part of an image captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on January 11, 2010. Taken at an angle, this view offers a nice sense of relief and perspective on a lunar feature not normally visible in direct-overhead shots. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has…

Roving the Edge

Here’s a great view of Santa Maria crater made from a couple of raw images from the Opportunity rover, taken earlier this month and assembled by Stu Atkinson. (I did take the liberty of cropping the original image a bit and filling in some of the sky at upper right.)  I particularly like the texture…

Lesson Learned

Another good one from the awesome that is xkcd. Brilliant. The Stingray Nebula (Hen-1357) is one of the youngest known planetary nebula – the result of a dying star shedding its outer layers and illuminating the expanding gas with radiation. Located in the southern constellation Ara (the Altar) the Stingray Nebula is 18,000 light-years away….

WordPress Posting Challenge

Ok, it’s not really a challenge for me because I post an awful lot of things here on Lights in the Dark, but I think it’s great that WordPress is putting forth the effort to get more of their bloggers….well, blogging, with their Post Every Day Challenge. It’s an attempt to get people writing, regardless…

A Close Pass

Here’s a close-up look at the extensively-cratered surface of Rhea, Saturn’s second-largest moon, captured by Cassini as it performed its closest flyby yet on the morning of  January 11, 2010. Passing a mere 43 miles (69 km) over the surface, Cassini got a great look at some of the deep craters that literally cover the…