2010 Cassini Orbiter Gallery
Spotted this breathtaking selection of abstract space photography earlier today and thought it’d make a good meander to the flow of the blog…
This post then is something of an expanded retweet which I first saw linked via We Are Build’s Twitter feed http://twitter.com/BuildsBlog. The full article comes via Wired Magazine and that’s where you can see a complete set of 12 images. Here are my thoughts and notes on the selected imagery…
All 5 photographs have been taken this year by NASA’s enduring Cassini probe which started it’s long mission to Saturn and it’s many moons back in 1997. Cassini–Huygens was developed as a twin NASA/ESA venture, with NASA constructing the Orbiter and the Europeans building the Huygens Probe (lander) which touched down on the surface of Titan (Saturn’s largest moon) on January 14th, 2005 transmitting data (via Cassini) back to earth for 90 minutes. Whilst not without some glitches both probes have been a phenomenal success making many significant discoveries such as confirming the existence of liquid hydrocarbon lakes, cryovolcanoes and mysterious “spokes” in Saturn’s rings, plus with plans to potentially run Cassini through to 2017 there is of course scope for learning so much more…
Top Image: The Icy moon of Tethys in silent transit around the enourmous gas giant. Tethys is just one of sixty two discovered Moons in orbit of Saturn.
2nd Image: The moons of Rhea (large in frame) and Epimetheus, despite the deceiving appearance these moons are in fact 250,000 miles apart. Rhea with a diameter of of 946 miles is Saturn’s second largest moon whilst at just 70miles across Epimetheus ranks 16th largest.
3rd Image: The dark side of Saturn cast’s a long heavy shadow across its rings – stunning! – the aforementioned moon of Thetys can be seen top right whilst Enceladus spins away bottom right.
4th Image: Perpetual storms on Saturn can feature wind speeds in excess of 1000 mph and can be interspersed with violent cracks of lighting, amazingly Cassini managed to capture this phenomenon on film, check it out. Though unimaginably fast Saturn’s wind speeds are in fact trumped by those of far-flung Neptune which can clock over 1300mph!
Bottom: Dione (Saturns 15th largest moon) is dwarfed by the looming Titan. Titan appears yellow in colour and is the only moon known too have a dense atmosphere, consisting of 98.4% Nitrogen with Methane making up the remainder… possibly not a holiday spot then.