Shifting patterns in the Titan landscape. Cool stuff indeed. This is the only place we’ve seen liquid seas/oceans beyond Earth, volcano’s yes, liquid oceans no. Ok so the seas/oceans on the Saturn moon Titan are mostly ethane and methane, still counts. Now enough history in images has been collected we can see changes in the seas/oceans structure, thanks to this great mission.
The press release offers possible explanations, could be as simple as well, gee I’m not sure, what would an “ice” berg be called if it was a hydrocarbon? A petrolberg or something I would guess.
As an aside, while I was spending my day painting the observatory (and finding a huge problem) I was thinking: what a good value these orbiting wonders are.
These three images, created from Cassini Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data, show the appearance and evolution of a mysterious feature in Ligeia Mare, one of the largest hydrocarbon seas on Saturn’s moon Titan. The views, taken during three different Cassini flybys of Titan, show that this feature was not visible in earlier radar images of the same region and its appearance changed between 2013 and 2014.
In the images, the dark areas represent the sea, which is thought to be composed of mostly methane and ethane. Most of the bright areas represent land surface above or just beneath the water line. The mysterious bright feature appears off the coast below center in the middle and right images. Continue reading →
Astronomers have studied galactic evolution for decades, gradually improving our knowledge of how galaxies have changed over cosmic history. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has played a big part in this, allowing astronomers to see further into the distance, and hence further back in time, than any telescope before it – capturing light that has taken billions of years to reach us.
Looking further into the very distant past to observe younger and younger galaxies is very valuable, but it is not without its problems for astronomers. All newly-born galaxies lie very far away from us and appear very small and faint in the images. On the contrary, all the galaxies near to us appear to be old ones.
DDO 68, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, was one of the best candidates so far discovered for a newly-formed galaxy in our cosmic neighbourhood. The galaxy lies around 39 million light-years away from us; although this distance may seem huge, it is in fact roughly 50 times closer than the usual distances to such galaxies, which are on the order of several billions of light years.
The Balloon Observation Platform for Planetary Science (BOPPS) is a high-altitude, stratospheric balloon mission that is planned for launch today to study a number of objects in our solar system, including an Oort cloud comet.
The balloon payload, a gondola measuring 6.7 meters tall (22 feet) tall and 2.4 meters wide (8 feet) wide and weighs in at 5,200 pounds. If all goes as planned the balloon will hoist the gondola to an altitude of about 36.6 to 39.36 km (120,000 to 130,000 feet) and keep it there for 24 hours!
The balloon itself is another flight of the BRORISON mission, recall this was a mission to observe Comet ISON within a year of its discovery. Let me tell you that is FAST. The logistics of a observing balloon mission are tremendous. Unfortunately there was a flight anomaly and the observations were not able to be made.
A couple of the observing objectives include Comet C/2013 Siding Spring discovered on 3 January 2013. This comet is the one that will make a close approach to Mars on 19 October 2014. The comet is coming into the inner solar system from the Oort Cloud, very possibly for the first time. Do you know what that means? This comet has been around since the formation of the solar system until something perturbed into this epic journey.
The second is another comet. Comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS was discovered on 17 May 2012 and like Siding Spring it too is making what it thought to be its first journey into the inner solar system from the Oort Cloud.
The launch will be about a week before the Comet Siding Spring Mars visit. Observations will be made in the near-infrared and near-ultraviolet along with light in the visible spectrum though a 0.8 m (2.6 feet) telescope.
If things go really well there could also be observations of Uranus, Neptune, Vesta and Ceres.
More about the image: you can also make such an image. You just need a stable camera set up and a shutter you can keep open either for multiple long exposures like this one or open most of the night during darkness of course..
The Solar Dynamics Observatory gives this beautiful look at a plume of plasma. This plume is huge, going presumably to another active region out of view on the horizon. Seeing a plume traveling this distance is something of a rarity.
The observation was made in the ultraviolet- 171 Angstroms – on 17-19 Sept 2014.
A nice Cassini image of three of Saturn’s moons and the expanse of rings taken at a low angle.
The largest of the three is Tethys, moving to the left we have the weirdest of the three and my personal favorite moon, Hyperion.
The last of the three is the one I call the potato, Prometheus, you will find it in the foreground right into to the edge of the rings. Actually Prometheus is inside the F ring, it has a partner on the outside of the F ring not shown here called Pandora. These two moons are known as shepherd moons and they keep the F ring nice and tidy.
Then there are the rings, the low angle perspective shows exquisite detail.
Be sure to pay a visit to our Saturn page and scroll down to the “Saturn’s Satellite” section and click on the image to the right for a guide.
A nice look at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/G-C). This was also one of those four-image mosaics from the Rosetta Blog, The particular image here was put together and published on ESA’s Space in Images. It took some work as they explained in the Rosetta Blog link above.
The image was taken on 19 September 2014 by the NavCam on Rosetta from just 28.6 km. I thought I was seeing things, but no, that is material coming off the “neck” of the comet.
I like the boulders, seems like they would roll off, which of course they won’t, interesting perspective though.