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Barnstorming Linne Crater February 5, 2013

Posted by jtintle in Planets.
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Description:

This flyover was generated from 3D model of Linne Crater with the image draped on top. The 3D model uses the DTM derived from LROC NAC stereo images.

Credit:

NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Montes Alpes and Montes Caucasus January 24, 2012

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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Descriptions:

Montes Alpes is a mountain range in the northern part of the Moon‘s near side. It was named after the Alps in Europe. This range forms the northeastern border of the Mare Imbrium lunar mare. To the west of the range is the level and nearly featureless mare, while on the eastern face is a more rugged continental area with a higher albedo. The range begins about one crater diameter northwest of the crater Cassini, at the Promontorium Agassiz, then stretches about 50 kilometers to the northwest and continues in intermittent fashion to the eastern rim of the dark-floored crater Plato. In this last stretch can be found the system of rilles named Rimae Plato.

Montes Caucasus is a rugged range of mountains in the northeastern part of the Moon. It begins at a gap of level surface that joins the Mare Imbrium to the west with the Mare Serenitatis to the east, and extends in an irregular band to the north-northeast to the western side of the prominent crater Eudoxus. The range forms the northwestern boundary of the Mare Serenitatis. It forms a continuation of the Montes Apenninus range to the southwest.

Telescope:

Vixen NA 120 mm, Mount: Sky Watcher NEQ 6 Pro, Barlow: Tele Vue Powermate 5X, CCD TIS DMK 21AU04.AS, Filter: Baader Fringe killer
4 avi films 2500 frames 1/15 seg. Processing: RegiStax6, Fitswork, GIMP2, iMerge<

Submitted by: Sergi Torrents Gonzalez (SERGIT) (SERGIT)
Location: Montmeló (Barcelona-Spain)
Date: August 20 2011

Saturn’s Iapetus: Painted Moon January 13, 2012

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Image Credit:

Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation:

What has happened to Saturn’s moon Iapetus? Vast sections of this strange world are dark as coal, while others are as bright as ice. The composition of the dark material is unknown, but infrared spectra indicate that it possibly contains some dark form of carbon. Iapetus also has an unusual equatorial ridge that makes it appear like a walnut. To help better understand this seemingly painted moon, NASA directed the robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn to swoop within 2,000 kilometers in 2007. Pictured above, from about 75,000 kilometers out, Cassini’s trajectory allowed unprecedented imaging of the hemisphere of Iapetus that is always trailing. A huge impact crater seen in the south spans a tremendous 450 kilometers and appears superposed on an older crater of similar size. The dark material is seen increasingly coating the easternmost part of Iapetus, darkening craters and highlands alike. Close inspection indicates that the dark coating typically faces the moon’s equator and is less than a meter thick. A leading hypothesis is that the dark material is mostly dirt leftover when relatively warm but dirty ice sublimates. An initial coating of dark material may have been effectively painted on by the accretion of meteor-liberated debris from other moons. This and other images from Cassini’s Iapetus flyby are being studied for even greater clues.

Space Station Flying by the Moon January 9, 2012

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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Space Station Flying by the Moon

Description:

The International Space Station can be seen as a small object in upper left of this image of the moon in the early evening Jan. 4 in the skies over the Houston area flying at an altitude of 390.8 kilometers (242.8 miles). The space station can occasionally be seen in the night sky with the naked eye and a pair of field binoculars.

Credit:
NASA, Lauren Harnett

A Darkened Sky September 24, 2008

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit & Copyright:

Miloslav Druckmuller (Brno University of Technology), Peter Aniol, Vojtech Rusin

Explanation:

For a moment on August 1st, the daytime sky grew dark along the path of a total solar eclipse. While watching the geocentric celestial event from Mongolia, photographer Miloslav Druckmuller recorded multiple images with two separate cameras as the Moon blocked the bright solar disk and darkened the sky. This final composition consists of 55 frames ranging in exposure time from 1/125 to 8 seconds. It spans nearly 12 degrees, with the relative position of the Moon and Sun corresponding to mid-eclipse. On the left is bright planet Mercury, but many stars are also visible, including the Praesepe star cluster (also known as M44 or the Beehive cluster) in Cancer, above and to the right of the silhouetted Moon. Remarkably, the nearly perfect conditions and wide range in individual exposures allow the composite picture to register the lunar surface and follow the delicate solar corona out to a distance of nearly 20 times the radius of the Sun. In fact, the composite presents a range in brightness beyond what the eye could see during the eclipse.

Earth’s Shadow August 27, 2008

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit & Copyright:

Anthony Ayiomamitis (TWAN)

Explanation:

The dark, inner shadow of planet Earth is called the umbra. Shaped like a cone extending into space, the umbra has a circular cross section that can be most easily seen during a lunar eclipse. For example, last Saturday the Full Moon slid across the northern edge of the umbra. Entertaining moon watchers throughout Earth’s eastern hemisphere, the lunar passage created a deep but partial lunar eclipse. This composite image uses successive pictures recorded during the eclipse from Athens, Greece to trace out a large part of the umbra’s curved edge. The result nicely illustrates the relative size of the umbra’s cross section at the distance of the Moon, as well as the Moon’s path through the Earth’s shadow.

LCROSS in the Vacuum Chamber August 14, 2008

Posted by jtintle in Satellite, Space Fotos.
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Credit:

NASA, Northrop Grumman, Ames Research Center (ARC)

Description:

Northrop Grumman engineers in Redondo Beach, Calif., lower the LCROSS spacecraft into a vacuum chamber that simulates conditions in space. It will be destroyed while seeking water ice on the moon.

My Notes:
Well I pulled this image from a Popular Mechanics story by Michael Milstein, in the September issue, that was tweeted about by LCROSS on twitter. LCROSS stands for Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite.

Mars Express acquires sharpest images of martian moon Phobos August 9, 2008

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Phobos
Description:
Mars Express closed in on the intriguing martian moon Phobos at 6:50 CEST on 23 July, flying past at 2.96 km/s, only 100 km from the centre of the moon. The ESA spacecraft’s fly-bys of the moon have returned its most detailed full-disc images ever, also in 3-D, using the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board.

Phobos is what scientists call a ‘small irregular body’. Measuring 27 km × 22 km × 19 km, it is one of the least reflective objects in the Solar System, thought to be a captured asteroid or a remnant of the material that formed the planets.

Phobos in 3-D
Phobos in 3-D

The best full-disc images of Phobos ever

The HRSC images, which are still under processing, form a bounty for scientists studying Phobos. They are a result of observations carried out over several close fly-bys of the martian moon, performed over the past three weeks. At their best, the pictures have a resolution of 3.7 m/pixel and are taken in five channels to obtain images in 3-D and to perform analyses of the physical properties of the surface.

The images obtained by several other spacecraft so far have either been of a lower resolution, or not available in 3D and have not covered the entire disc of Phobos. This is also the first time that portions of the far-side of the moon have been imaged in such high resolution (Phobos always faces Mars on the same side).

Potential Phobos-Grunt landing site
Potential Phobos-Grunt landing site

Scientific bounty

In observing Phobos, Mars Express benefits from its highly elliptical orbit which takes it from a closest distance of 270 km from the planet to a maximum of 10 000 km (from the centre of Mars), crossing the 6000 km orbit of the martian moon. Mars Express imaged the far-side of Phobos (with respect to Mars) for the first time after NASA’s Viking mission in the 1970s, by flying outside the spacecraft’s orbit around Mars.

Phobos-Grunt (roughly translated as Phobos soil), a Russian sample-return mission, is due for launch in 2009. It is expected to land on the far-side of Phobos at a region between 5° south to 5° north, and 230° west to 235° west.

Phobos
Phobos

The HRSC observations have been awaited eagerly to better assess the choice of and characterise the landing site.

The moon’s remarkably grooved surface can be seen in the pictures quite clearly. The origin of these grooves is still debated. It is not known whether they are produced by ejecta thrown up from impacts on Mars, or if they result from the surface regolith, or soil, slipping into internal fissures.

Phobos
Phobos

In this image, at least two families of grooves with distinct orientations can be seen along with what is either a chain of pits or craters.

The stereo observations (resolution 3.7 m/pixel) are important for structural analysis and they will be used to derive a digital terrain model (a 3-D map of the surface that includes elevation data). The extra photometric channels (at 7.4 m/pixel) make it possible to study the properties of the Phobos regolith at micron to millimetre scales.

Geometry of the Phobos flyby
Geometry of the Phobos flyby

An operational challenge

Managing the close fly-bys was an operational challenge, made possible by spacecraft operations engineers and scientists who worked together to specially optimise Mars Express’s trajectory and obtain the best possible views.

The observation made use of a spacecraft slew, a special manoeuvre whereby the body of the spacecraft is rotated against the direction of motion, to effectively lower the speed at which the target passes in the field of view of the camera. This makes it possible to avoid blurring of the pictures despite the high fly-by velocities, whilst maintaining acceptable exposure time.

Phobos fly-by animation

The HRSC Super Resolution Channel (SRC) also observed during this close fly-by, with a nominal resolution of 90 cm/pixel. As expected, despite the slew, some residual motion blur has crept into the image, but much detail will be recovered after further processing.

In the days running up to the observation, the primary star-tracker – a navigation device that helps the spacecraft point its instruments at the target accurately – experienced some temporary difficulty in recognising the star constellations in its field of view, leaving the spacecraft operating on its secondary system. Concerned that this might affect this critical observation, the team at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, worked intensely to recover the primary system and were able to switch back successfully two days before the fly-by.

Credit:
Notes for editors:

The Principal Investigator (PI) for the HRSC experiment on ESA’s Mars Express is Prof. Dr Gerhard Neukum, who also designed the camera technically. The HRSC science team consists of 45 Co-Investigators from 32 institutions located in 10 nations. The camera was developed at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) under the PI in cooperation with industrial partners (EADS Astrium, Lewicki Microelectronic GmbH and Jena-Optronik GmbH). It is operated through ESA/ESOC by the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, where systematic processing of the image data is carried out. The scenes shown here were processed by the PI group at the Institute for Geosciences of the Freie Universitaet Berlin in cooperation with the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin.

COPERNICUS ON THE LIMB October 9, 2007

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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pythagoras_2007.10.05-lpod.jpg

Credit:

Oliver Pettenpaul

Description by LPOD.org:

Oliver likes limb views and so do I. This oblique perspective of Pythagoras is unusual, for the 130 km wide crater is 27° in longitude from the mean limb and not usually seen so much on edge. We can see the central peak in profile – its a relatively steep-sided triangular mountain – fitting for Pythagoras! The brightness of one peak is probably due to it being at the right angle to effectively reflect sunlight, but perhaps is also partially because it contains anorthosite, the aluminum-rich, whitish rock of the lunar highlands. The floor of the crater looks quite flat, like the foreground Mare Frigoris. The little crater near the bottom of the opposite rim is on the northwest side of the crater, so we are looking approximately north of west. The shadow-casting scarp along the rim crest on the left side of the crater appears quite steep. I didn’t realize how flat the rim is below the scarp, and how it almost rolls over toward the floor. Near the middle of the image is Robinson – a crater with such a smooth rim that looks like it was turned on a lathe. And near the foreground is Horrebrow and its A, locked in an incestuous embrace. Oliver’s image illustrates that there is no bad time to look at the Moon, for even a very bad libration leads to a new view of old friends.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:

Oct 5, 2007 05:18UT. Celestron C9.25″ + Meade #140 2x Barlow + Astronomik R filter + ImagingSource DMK21AF04.AS camera @ 15 fp. 700 frames stacked with 10x MAP processing.

Related Links:

Oliver’s website

Lunar Photo of the Day

The Comet and the Galaxy August 21, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright:

J. C. Casado

Explanation:

The Moon almost ruined this photograph. During late March and early April 1997, Comet Hale-Bopp passed nearly in front of the Andromeda Galaxy. Here the Great Comet of 1997 and the Great Galaxy in Andromeda were photographed together on 1997 March 24th. The problem was the brightness of the Moon. The Moon was full that night and so bright that long exposures meant to capture the tails of Hale-Bopp and the disk of M31 would capture instead only moonlight reflected off the Earth’s atmosphere. By the time the Moon would set, this opportunity would be gone. That’s why this picture was taken during a total lunar eclipse.

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