Rosetta Shadows Its Comet… Yes, Literally

See the image above? It’s the surface of a comet. Pretty cool. See the dark spot along the bottom? It’s the shadow of the spacecraft that took the image of the comet. WAY cool! Advertisements

Cool Cassini Capture: Pandora

Cassini took this raw image of the 50-mile (81-km) -wide moon Pandora on May 7, 2011. The oval-shaped shepherd moon orbits Saturn just outside the F ring. Saturn’s long shadow is cast over the central portion of the rings in this image. Credit: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute

Following a Moon Shadow

Can’t see the video below? Click here. Here’s an intriguing video assembled by Daniel Macháček, made from archived image data from NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter; on September 28, 1977, over a year after dropping a probe onto the Martian surface, the orbiter captured images of the shadow of Mars’ moon Phobos passing over the billowy top…

Flying Pan

Making a complete orbit in just under 14 hours, the 17-mile-wide shepherd moon Pan cruises around Saturn within the Encke gap in the A ring. In the image above, taken by Cassini on January 8, we can see Pan casting a sliver of a shadow onto the outer edge of the gap as it causes…

Shadow Caster

It’s been a while since I posted any moon shadow images but they’re always cool to look at, since they add another dimension to a scene that can sometimes be hard to put into context. This image, taken by Cassini on January 10 and released today, shows the 12-mile-wide shepherd moon Pan cruising along within the…

Now that’s a big shadow!

This was a suprising find amongst the raw images from Cassini this evening….a photo of Saturn, similar to the one I posted previously, but with a massive shadow cast upon its southern hemisphere. I presume it’s from Titan, somewhere out of frame, based upon its size and hazy edges (indicative of the big moon’s thick…

In Fact, It’s Cold As Hell

When you look up at the moon, you’re looking at what is now believed to be the coldest place in the solar system, according to recent data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Craters at the moon’s south pole stay in constant shadow, their rims blocking sunlight from reaching their interiors. In these areas of permanent…

Shadow Play

A series of images from Cassini shows the 110-mile-wide Janus passing through shadows cast by Saturn’s rings. Janus shares its orbit within the ring system with sister moon Epimetheus. Both are small, rocky worlds…irregularly-shaped clusters of rubble pockmarked by ancient craters and displaying lots of scrapes and gouges, evidence of glancing blows by larger bodies.

The Ghost and the Darkness

A spectral figure casts a long shadow as it travels along the path of Saturn’s F ring on August 7, 2009 in this image from the Cassini orbiter. Not a ghost per se but rather a clump of ring material, pulled upwards from the rest of the ring plane by what is perhaps a small…

Chasing Shadows

This animation, made from raw images received on June 22, brings us on a flight above Saturn’s B and A rings looking down over the 3,000-mile wide Cassini Division, following the elongated shadow of a moon cast upon – and through – the ring material. The different densities of the ring segments are made apparent…

Dark Shadows

A sliver of a shadow, thousands of miles long, slices into the twilight side of Saturn’s rings and drifts off the edge of the A ring in this 8-frame animation. (Click the image to play.) As well as the motion of the moon shadow, thicker sections of the F ring can be seen moving along…

Ripples Have Ridges

  Another great image showing Saturn’s moon Daphnis sending up high-walled waves in the ring material edging the Keeler Gap in which it resides. The waves cast shadows back onto the A ring, as does the moon itself. This image was taken on May 24, 2009 by the Cassini spacecraft. RAW image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute