Category: sistemasolar

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On March 31, 2005, just minutes after the Cassini spacecraft’s closest approach to Titan during the Titan (T-4) Flyby, Cassini viewed Saturn peeking through Titan’s thick atmosphere.

Saturn’s rings are seen here casting dark, dramatic shadows across the planet’s northern disk (upper left).

Credit: NASA / JPL / SSI / Ian Regan / Val Klavans

On March 31, 2005, just minutes after the Cassini spacecraft’s closest approach to Titan during the Titan (T-4) Flyby, Cassini viewed Saturn peeking through Titan’s thick atmosphere.

Saturn’s rings are seen here casting dark, dramatic shadows across the planet’s northern disk (upper left).

Credit: NASA / JPL / SSI / Ian Regan / Val Klavans

Pluto and Its Moons: Charon, Nix, and Hydra

Credit: NASA

Pluto and Its Moons: Charon, Nix, and Hydra

Credit: NASA

The Frozen Canyons of Pluto North Pole

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Mission scientists created this “departure movie” from 14 different images taken by the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) shortly after the spacecraft flew past the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule (officially named 2014 MU69) on Jan. 1, 2019. The central frame of this sequence was taken on Jan. 1 at 05:42:42 UT (12:42 a.m. EST), when New Horizons was 5,494 miles (8,862 kilometers) beyond Ultima Thule, some 4.1 billion miles (6.6 billion kilometers) from Earth. The object’s illuminated crescent is blurred in the individual frames because a relatively long exposure time was used during this rapid scan to boost the camera’s signal level – but the science team combined and processed the images to remove the blurring and sharpen the thin crescent. This is the farthest movie of any object in our Solar System ever made by any spacecraft. The images reveal an outline of the “hidden” portion of the Ultima Thule that was not illuminated by the Sun as the spacecraft zipped by, but can be “traced out” because it blocked the view to background stars also in the image.

Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/National Optical Astronomy Observatory

How do distant asteroids differ from those near the Sun? To help find out, NASA sent the robotic New Horizons spacecraft past the classical Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule, the farthest asteroid yet visited by a human spacecraft. Zooming past the 30-km long space rock on January 1, the featured image is the highest resolution picture of Ultima Thule’s surface beamed back so far. Utima Thuli does look different than imaged asteroids of the inner Solar System, as it shows unusual surface texture, relatively few obvious craters, and nearly spherical lobes. Its shape is hypothesized to have formed from the coalescence of early Solar System rubble in into two objects – Ultima and Thule – which then spiraled together and stuck. Research will continue into understanding the origin of different surface regions on Ultima Thule, whether it has a thin atmosphere, how it obtained its red color, and what this new knowledge of the ancient Solar System tells us about the formation of our Earth.

Image Credit: NASA, JHU’s APL, SwRI; Color Processing: Thomas Appéré

This photograph of Neptune’s southern hemisphere was taken by the narrow-angle camera on NASA’s Voyager 2 when the spacecraft was 4.2 million km (2.6 million miles) from the planet.

Image credit: NASA/JPL