Discover’s Best of Amateur Imagers

Discover online has an article today about some of the best in amateur space imaging. Many of which have been featured here on Wanderingspace before like Gordan Ugarkovic, Emily Lakdawalla and Bjorn Jonsson to name a few. The last item from Bill Dunford of Riding With Robots is an image that he actually suggested NASA point their HiRise cameras at that location. He suspected they might find something interesting there and they did —flash water movement and evidence of avalanches.

Best of G. Ugarkovic (Last 8 Months)

If you follow this blog on any basis, you might be well aware that a good percentage of the imagery is provided by our good flickr friend Gordan Ugarkovic. Here is a bit of what we missed from him in the last 10 months we were locked out.

Titan at the edge of Saturn taken 2011-05-21. Looks unreal. Like Titan was dropped into the scene using Photoshop. A sin I would never commit. See the lesser “official” NASA version released a few months back here.

Keeping with the theme of moons transiting Saturn. Here is Rhea and tiny Epimetheus doing what they do. Taken in 2010-03-24.

Finally, just to change it up… two moons against Titan, another of Saturn’s moons. Pictured above the Titanian cloud-tops is Dione on the left and Rhea on the right.

Helene Offers a New Mystery

The tiny moon Helene seems to be experiencing some kind of erosion based on new hires images acquired by the Cassini mission in orbit around Saturn. If this is true, this would be quite a mystery considering the moon’s tiny mass and almost total lack of any gravitational ability to shape it’s own surface. Surely this must be coming from external forces such as ring particles being dumped on the surface in one area and then slowly being shaken downslope by small impacts over a very long time. Maybe?

Another color composite by Gordan Ugarkovic.

And a bonus Helene crescent image with posterization effects removed by Wanderingspace.

Rings Not Entirely Flat

Recent observations of Saturn’s rings from Cassini reveal some vertical structure to the rings. Shown here are disturbances caused by Daphnis, a small moonlet that orbits within the Keeler Gap of the rings. We have seen much of these kinds of disturbances in the rings from tiny moonlets, but the Saturninan equinox finally provides us with an angle of sunlight that reveals such structures from the long shadows they cast. The tallest shadow seen at right is Daphnis itself.

Improved Epimetheus Image Released

Epimetheus December 2007 This improved image of Epimetheus was released to the Cassini site yesterday and as compared to this more raw image post from December 8, it is most notably cleaner, processed in color and appears to be much sharper.

This is a view of the moon’s more southern pole and there is speculation that covering a majority of this face is actually one large impact crater which could explain it’s flattened appearance. There also seems to be what looks like a deposit or “dusting” of material all over this face which seems to blanket flat areas and begins to fill some craters and other depressed regions. The moon is only about 70 x 50 km in size, approximately the size of a city such as Los Angeles.