Monday, November 9, 2015

A Quadruple Sky Over Great Salt Lake

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Image Credits: NASA App; Michael Wilson

Description of Own
This was a sky to show the kids. All in all, three children, three planets, the Moon, a star, an airplane and a mom were all captured in one image near Great Salt Lake in UtahUSA in early September of 2005. Minus the airplane and the quadruple on the ground, this busy quadruple coincidence sky was visible last week all over the world. The easiest object to spot is the crescentMoon, which is easily the brightest sky orb in the featured image. Venus is the highest planet in the sky, with Jupiter to its right. The bright starSpica completes the quadruple just below Venus. The streak on the far right is an airplane. Mom is seated. Grandpa, appreciating the beauty of the moment, took the picture. This week, the pre-dawn sky shows a similar conjunction of planets.
Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Wilson

Monday, November 2, 2015

Close look of Saturn's moon Enceladus - Flyby

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Image credit: NASA

Description:
This unprocessed "raw" image of Saturn's icy, geologically active moon Enceladus was acquired by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during its dramatic Oct. 28, 2015 flyby in which the probe passed about 30 miles (49 kilometers) above the moon's south polar region. The spacecraft will continue transmitting its data from the Enceladus encounter for the next several days. Cassini's next and final close Enceladus flyby will take place on Dec. 19, when the spacecraft will measure the amount of heat coming from the moon's interior.

Researchers will soon begin studying data from Cassini's gas analyzer and dust detector instruments, which directly sampled the moon's plume of gas and dust-sized icy particles during the flyby. Those analyses are likely to take several weeks, but should provide important insights about the composition of the global ocean beneath Enceladus' surface and any hydrothermal activity occurring on the ocean floor. The potential for such activity in this small ocean world has made Enceladus a prime target for future exploration in search of habitable environments in the solar system beyond Earth.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Cassini

Dunelands of Titan

Saturn's moon "Titan
Saturn's moon "Titan"



Image credits: NASA , JPL

Description:

Saturn's frigid moon Titan has some characteristics that are oddly similar to Earth, but still slightly alien. It has clouds, rain and lakes (made of methane and ethane), a solid surface (made of water ice), and vast dune fields (filled with hydrocarbon sands).

The dark, H-shaped area seen here contains two of the dune-filled regions, Fensal (in the north) and Aztlan (to the south).

Cassini's cameras have frequently monitored the surface of Titan (3200 miles or 5150 kilometers across) to look for changes in its features over the course of the mission. Any changes would help scientists better understand different phenomena like winds and dune formation on this strangely earth-like moon.

For a closer view of Fensal-Aztlan, see PIA07732.

This view looks toward the leading side of Titan. North on Titan is up. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 25, 2015 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 450,000 miles (730,000 kilometers) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 32 degrees. Image scale is 3 miles (4 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov orhttp://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Cassini