Wallpaper: Iapetus Terminator

Wallpaper: Iapetus Terminator

Another work by Gordan Ugarkovic. He created this composite with hi-res clear images (monochrome, that is) and combined that with low quality color data. It is often possible to get a good full color image with low-quality data as long as there exists a good quality clear image to work with. The full composite is here.

I have noticed that Gordan’s work has begun popping up on the Planetary Society blog fairly often. Congratulations to both Gordan for the recognition and to PS for making his gorgeous composites available to the masses!

Wallpaper: Io’s Prometheus Volcano

Wallpaper: Io’s Promethius Volcano Jason Perry has been featured here a whole bunch lately as he has been uploading newly processed Galileo images nearly every week (not to mention the recent New Horizons set). Some of these images would make great wallpaper displays, but the only issue with some are missing data regions and the noise that is common with hires images from the Galileo mission. Wanderingspace has attempted to artistically replace and clean of few of these images and will be posting the results of these for the next few days.

The region shown is the most famous of Io’s active volcanoes Prometheus. Normally we see this volcano at the edge of Io’s limb to view the plume clearly on profile, but here Galileo views this very active region from above during a flyby on orbit #27. The reddish haze surrounding the area is either the plume itself jettisoning materials or could also be deposits lying on the ground – perhaps Jason will comment and clarify.

Io’s Promethius Volcano

The above image is the Jason Perry original and the missing color information is apparent (only the green channel was provided from the mission). The noise at this scale is less apparent but much more visible on the hires version. It is important to note that the wallpaper version is an artistic attempt at cleaning and replacing the missing data and is meant for display viewing not science!

IMAGE NOTE: As stated above – the missing color data was colorized in the region it was missing and some of the thin strips of missing color data was simply replaced with new image information. You can also see areas at the edges of the composition that were filled with duplicate image data to fill the wallpaper frame most notably at top right and bottom left. The remainder of the image is original except for the noise reduction provided by Photoshop.

Martian Avalanche!

Martian Avalanche Zoom Out In the referential image above, two avalanches were captured in action by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The larger of these two (B) is around 180 meters wide, extends about 190 meters and the cliff heights are around 700 meters tall. The White material on the top that appears as snow is actually carbon dioxide frost which is currently receding as the Martian Spring moves closer. It is this very process which may be the cause of such falls as the carbon dioxide frost expands and contracts with the changing seasonal temperatures. Despite these seasonal changes, most areas of the Martian surface have likely been unchanged for millions of years, so it is quite rare to capture such cataclysmic activities in a single image from orbit.

A Martian Avalanche A

B Martian Avalanche B

IMAGE NOTE: The images above are listed as RGB, but the accompanying text describes all the images as “false color”. Guess – maybe it means the colors are natural but exaggerated? See below for 1440x900 landscape wallpaper.

Wallpaper: Martian Avalanche!

Wallpaper: Mercury Portrait Updated

Wallpaper: Mercury Portrait Updated Jan 2008Seemed about time to update the old Mercury “portrait” wallpaper to the new Messenger Mercury “portrait”. It seems possible this color view of Mercury may be replaced again by a better view from the coming October Messenger flyby of Mercury (or perhaps by yet unreleased images from the January flyby), but for now this sure does it.

NOTE: This is a re-post, the image has been updated with Gordan Ugarkovic’s colors as the official NASA version had a good amounf of false colors which gave many details a blueish hue that would not be visible to human eyes.

Wallpaper: Northern Cloudtops on Saturn

Wallpaper: Northern Cloudtops on Saturn Wallpaper image made from previous post.

NOTE: The rings to the right of the terminator were sampled from actual images and rendered out in 3-D software to fill the page. The dark outline of the right side of the globe is artificial. Everything to the left of center is actual image. See previous post for unadulterated version of the image. Color composite and rings are by wanderingspace.net.

Wallpaper: Southern Saturn

The Gordan Ugarkovic fan club must be thrilled this week with all the recent Saturn images. This new one is among the best around, reminiscent of the fantastic Ian Regan composite. A gorgeous view of Saturn’s southern pole which has seen very little exposure in terms of global views (or near global) like this. The now famous “storm” dead-centered around the pole can be seen directly to the left of the image caption. Wallpaper: Southern Saturn

As always, the Ugarkovic flickr page for all the latest.

NOTE: An ever so slight amount of Photoshop image extension was applied to the far right side of the image only at the edge. Probably about .5% of the image.

New Horizons is New Again

A bunch of new data was recently released from the New Horizons encounter with Jupiter in February. Included in that was this impressive composite of Jupiter’s clouds. Jupiter Clouds 01Jupiter Clouds 02Jupiter Clouds 03The image is presented here in 3 parts as I just have not figured out how to post tall images in my build of WordPress without it scaling oddly into the page format.

The original released by NASA had an odd grey faded edge which looks fairly fake and manipulated. The description states that it was taken at the edge of Jupiter’s night-side, so we adjusted the above images to look more natural than the way it appeared here.

Wallpaper: Jupiter Clouds

Wallpaper: Iapetus Bright Portrait

Wallpaper: Iapetus Bright Portrait It had to happen… regularly featured on this site Gordan Ugarkovic stitches together an awesome hi-res full globe image of Iapetus only a few days after the closest approach (see previous post for even larger sized wallpaper for bigger monitors). I usually only label an image a “portrait” once for each body, but seeing as Iapetus has two different sides… I think it deserves two. Here is the darker side imaged earlier in 2005.

Wallpapers: Earth from the Space Shuttle

Something impressive seems to be happening on STS-118 (the Space Shuttle mission currently in orbit)… Photography. Wallpaper: Endeavor Against Earth Horizon

Surely there are many excellent images to be had from previous Shuttle missions, but the images coming from STS-118 are really something to see. Perhaps one of the astronauts doing the EVAs (extra vehicular activities) has a degree in photography? At any rate, this site’s recent effort to give Earth it’s fair presence on this site has to take advantage of some of these fantastic images coming from NASA.

Wallpaper: Endeavor Docked

Wallpaper: The International Space Station

If you would like to see more check out the current mission’s multimedia gallery here or digg the story here.

Wallpaper: Earth Portrait

Wallpaper: Earth Portrait You have probably seen this image of the Earth before. This was the way the Earth appeared to the final astronauts to land on the moon in 1972. It has since become the quintessential Earth portrait, used more often than any other global image of the Earth. This is probably due to its beauty but also worth mentioning the relative rarity with which we get to see a full globe image taken of the Earth in one snapshot. Only missions and probes that leave the vicinity of the Earth are able to do this and some other popular Earth portraits have been taken by Galileo, Messenger… there is the famous Earth/Moon portrait taken by Voyager 1 and of course several from various Apollo missions.

Wallpaper: Martian North Pole

Wallpaper: Martian North Pole Since the Mars Phoenix Lander has now been successfully launched, and is on its way to potentially making the first ever successful landing in the Martian polar region… Here is a great image of the region taken from the Mars Recon Orbiter’s archives.

On a side note, there was one previous mission called the Mars Polar Lander which was to touch down in the region in 1999. Communication was lost with the lander just prior to the designated arrival date and the whereabouts of the probe have been a mystery ever since. Recently the Opportunity and Spirit rovers, the old Viking Landers and even the original Pathfinder components had been clearly imaged from orbit by the Mars Global Surveyor and that raised hopes we might finally make a visual connection with the remains of the doomed lander. Initially some hopeful findings had been made, but they later panned out and as of this date MPL still remains lost.

Wallpaper: Deuteronilus Mensae on Mars

Wallpaper: Deuteronilus Mensae on Mars It is believed that these valleys may have originated from flash flood waters which came from melting ice many ages ago. But the conditions on Mars do not allow water to stay liquid for very long. That water would have frozen pretty quickly and then flowed down any depressions… which when you think of it - sort of makes an “instant glacier”.

Wallpaper: Space Walk

Wallpaper: Space Walk Ed White is the first American space walker, which took place on Mercury 7. Sadly, he later died on the ground in the tragic Apollo 1 flash fire which took place during a test run. The accident took the lives of 3 astronauts before Apollo even got off the ground.

Note: I erroneously labeled this wallpaper as Mercury 7 and not Gemini 4. Image has been corrected.

Image Note: Some of the Earth image at the far left has been extended in Photoshop to fill out the space. The original image was square.