Images of Saturn and Mars

These amazing images are obviously not mine, but they have by virtue of their scientific and public interest become in a sense, everyones. So, this holiday season, looking beyond our little lives on this blue marble, we have a few images and movies to help put things in perspective including images of other planetary bodies, Quicktime VRs of the surface of Mars created from images sent by the Spirit and Opportunity Mars landers, and finally, Saturn and its moons taken by the Cassini spacecraft.

First, a movie taken by the Messenger spacecraft leaving Earth.

Next, we travel onto Mars for our first Mars panorama. This image was originally captured on August 22nd, and was compiled into a QuicktimeVR format here. Of note, dustdevils can be seen on the surface of Mars 90 meters below as imaged by the Marslander Spirit from the top of Husband Hill.

To give you some idea of the difficulty in remote sensing and imagery from such great distances, you should know that this image from the second panorama was created from 108 separate images taken over the course of 8 Martian days. And you would be remiss if you did not check out this amazing panorama from the summit of Husband Hill.

Continuing on our tour to the moons of Saturn, we have an image of Dione, Tethys and Pandora from front to back. Full resolution images can be found here.

This image of the moon Hyperion is one of the more bizarre moonscapes, or Hyperionscapes so far seen in the solar system. You should also see the flyby movie of Hyperion taken by the Cassini spacecraft at approximately 900 miles away from the moon. These images have been processed by the Cassini Imaging Laboratory.

Looking back on Saturn and it’s moon Dione, we see actual lighting of the planet from light reflected off the rings in the lower hemisphere and shadows by the rings on the northern blue hemisphere. The blue color on Saturn has been covered here before in my Blue Skies at Night entry.

Many more original images of various resolution can be seen here.

And finally, many thanks to Rand who pointed out some of these images on his most excellent blog.

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