Among the interplay of Saturn’s shadow and rings, Mimas, which appears in the lower-right corner of the image, orbits Saturn as a set of the ever-intriguing spokes appear in the B ring (just to the right of center).
Scientists expect that spokes will soon cease to form as Saturn approaches northern equinox. The exact mechanism of spoke formation is still the subject of debate, but ring scientists do know that spokes no longer appear when the Sun is higher in Saturn’s sky. It is believed that this has to do with the ability of micron-sized ring grains to maintain an electrical charge and levitate above the rings, forming spokes. Thus, these may be some of the last spokes ever imaged by Cassini.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 38 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 22, 2013.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.6 million miles (2.6 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 146 degrees. Image scale is 93 miles (150 kilometers) per pixel.
Tonight’s awesome image from outer space: an infrared view of the Orion Nebula, courtesy of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.
Few cosmic vistas excite the imagination like the Orion Nebula, an immense stellar nursery some 1,500 light-years away. This stunning false-color view spans about 40 light-years across the region, constructed using infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Compared to its visual wavelength appearance, the brightest portion of the nebula is likewise centered on Orion’s young, massive, hot stars, known as the Trapezium Cluster. But the infrared image also detects the nebula’s many protostars, still in the process of formation, seen here in red hues. In fact, red spots along the dark dusty filament to the left of the bright cluster include the protostar cataloged as HOPS 68, recently found to have crystals of the silicate mineral olivine within its protostellar envelope.
Earth’s jet stream is a subject of intense interest and concern thanks to its effects on our weather. Saturn’s polar jet stream, seen here, causes no such worries for Earthlings, so we can simply marvel at its graceful form.
This view looks toward the north pole of Saturn from about 53 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 23, 2013 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 590,000 miles (949,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 52 degrees. Image scale is 35 miles (57 kilometers) per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, 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, D.C. 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, Colo.
The Cassini imaging team homepage is at:
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Click “Read more” for details about the sequence.
Music: ‘Fill My Heart’ by Two Steps from Hell
Editor: David Peterson
This montage of time-lapse photography from the International Space Station is collected from many taken in Expeditions 29, 30 and 31.
The previous sequence, ‘All Alone In The Night’, highlighted night sequences and spectacular aurora light shows and intended to give a feeling of flying through space.
The goal with this sequence was to bring a bit more attention to the station itself, including the humans aboard it, particularly Don Pettit (appearing in the final shot) who took many of the sequences in this montage.
0:03 - Bosnia & Herzegovina to Ukraine
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 55446-55591
0:08 - South Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Liberia
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 154281-154472
0:16 - Greece and Turkey
Mission ISS031, Frames: 26008-26202
0:24 - South Pacific Ocean, near Peru
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 48993-49186
0:32 - Turkey to Syria
Mission: ISS031, Frame: 76590-76782
0:39 - Libya to the Mediterranean
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 25782-25972
0:47 - Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Madagascar
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 50818-51010
0:54 - Pacific Ocean, south of Japan
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 117700-117772
0:58 - Pacific Ocean, facing North passing Hawaii
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 101027-101674
1:02 - China, Japan, Pacific Ocean
Mission: ISS030, Frames: 112458-112553
1:06 - South Pacific to North Atlantic, across Colombia/Venezuela
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 75421-75513
1:10 - South Pacific to South Atlantic, across Chile/Argentina
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 42147-42242
1:14 - South Pacific to North Atlantic, across Colombia/Venezuela
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 48140-48199
1:17 - Pacific Ocean, from New Zealand to USA
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 66043-66136
1:22 - Southern Chile to Angola, facing south
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 49203-49277
1:25 - Iran to Australia
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 180064-180120
1:29 - North America to South America
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 180172-180222
1:33 - Pacific Ocean to Chile/Argentina/Brazil, facing south
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 48094-48139
1:37 - South Pacific/Japan & North Pacific
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 154164-154204,154205-154256
1:40 - South Pacific to South Atlantic, across Chile/Argentina/Brazil
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 44598-44645
1:44 - South Pacific to North Atlantic, across Chile/Argentina/Brazil
Mission: ISS030, Frames: 159064-159113
1:48 - India/Thailand/Indonesia/Australia/New Zealand
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 177704-177764
1:52 - South Pacific to South Atlantic, across Chile/Argentina/Brazil
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 37675-37735
1:56 - DR Congo/Zambia/Mozambique/Madagascar/Indian Ocean
Mission: ISS030, Frames: 21632-21819
2:03 - Lovejoy Comet over Australia
Mission: ISS030, Frames: 14225-14455
2:11 - Moon rising over China
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 27699-27763
2:13 - Moon rising over Pacific Ocean, south of Japan
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 27468-27526
2:14 - Moon rising over Taiwan & Philippines (with Don Pettit)
Mission: ISS031, Frames: 27802-28017