Cyber Tuesday Spaceprobe Deal

For two days only, buy one of our limited edition Robotic Spacecraft Series Prints and get the full suite of vinyl stickers for free. This is a total savings of $24 and would serve as a great stocking stuffer to follow the presentation of the print.

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.

Enceladus has 101 Geysers

Apparently there are a whole lot of geysers on Enceladus, more than 100. Well only one more, but there are sure to be others. Most of the geysers spotted so far appear along the four noticeably visible “tiger stripes” that appear in the southern hemisphere.

These are two of the most recent images to come from Cassini on this hot region of this medium sized moon. Nice seeing the detail on the geysers in the dark regions of the images where you can actually see where they are originating from on the surface.

Enceladus Lost in the Ring Haze

The tiny but very active moon Enceladus is seen here lost within the E-Ring of Saturn. The moon, as many of us know, is quite active with cryo-volcanic geysers littered throughout the ridges of the “tiger stripes” found mostly in the moon’s southern hemisphere. Since most of the ejecta from Enceladus is jettisoned fast enough to escape the tiny moon’s gravity, most the material winds up orbiting Saturn itself and is therefore helping over a very long period of time to form Saturn’s E-Ring. This at least partly helps solve the question of where Saturn’s massive ring structure originates.

Image by Val Klavans.

Planetfall

Having followed the activities of a small army of freelance space imagers that lurk in various places on the internet for about 10 years now — it is truly unusual for me to come across images that I know I have not seen before. Michael Benson’s exhibit titled, “Planetfall” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science offers offer fresh views from missions as old as Viking and as new as Cassini. What originally caught my attention was an image of an actively spewing Enceladus that is exposed in both Sun and Saturn shine — a view I have surely seen before, but never so detailed or dramatic. Even more surprising and rare is a new global composite view of Uranus with a complete and continuous ring taken by Voyager almost 30 years ago.

The show ends soon (June 28, 2013) and is located in Washington DC.

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.

The Plumes of Enceladus

Back and front lit plumes This is the best lit image taken of the plumes of Enceladus thus far by Cassini. The moon is lit from the front by Saturnshine and the plumes are being back-lit by the Sun directly behind. A perfect alignment for revealing active geysers on a small moon.

Sometimes Raw Images are Enough

Raw image of Enceladus This image is taken directly from the Cassini raw images directory. Sometimes they are perfect with no need for adjustment or correction. The best detail is the subtle haze of the geysers spewing on the right edge. Taken April 26 from 987,839 kilometers away.

Okay, Set Scene: Rings, Titan, Geysers…

This composite has been kicked around a bunch on unmannedspaceflight.com. Contained within it are two separate images taken by the Cassini mission at nearly the same time but different exposures. Looking at this scene with human eyes, the big difference would likely be that the geysers would not be blown out and would look more like a multiple of gentle hazes spewing upward. The other big difference would be that you were somehow on a mission to Saturn and not browsing the web.

Above are the two original exposures. These were merely combined with a photo editing tool. The geyser haze was blurred in areas to clean out compression artifacts and the color was artistically added by Gordan Ugarkovic. While the color is artificially generated, it does accurately reflect the same overall appearance of most natural light images of Titan.