close flyby

Ring Scan 

Scroll down and you can cruise along the icy rings of Saturn. This high resolution scan is a mosaic of images presented in natural color. The images were recorded in May 2007 over about 2.5 hours as the Cassini spacecraft passed above the unlit side of the rings. To help track your progress, major rings and gaps are labeled along with the distance from the center of the gas giant in kilometers.

The alphabetical designation of Saturn’s rings is historically based on their order of discovery; rings A and B are the bright rings separated by the Cassini division. In order of increasing distance from Saturn, the seven main rings run D,C,B,A,F,G,E. (Faint, outer rings G and E are not imaged here.) Four days from now, on November 29, Cassini will make a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan and use the large moon’s gravity to nudge the spacecraft into a series of 20 daring, elliptical, ring-grazing orbits. Diving through the ring plane just 11,000 kilometers outside the F ring (image bottom) Cassini’s first ring-graze will be on December 4.

What’s more majestic than Saturn’s rings? LITERALLY NOTHING!!

Zoom in on this awesome high resolution scan of Saturn’s rings. It’s a mosaic of images presented in natural color. The images were recorded in May 2007 over about 2.5 hours as the Cassini spacecraft passed above the unlit side of the rings.

The alphabetical designation of Saturn’s rings is historically based on their order of discovery; rings A and B are the bright rings separated by the Cassini division. In order of increasing distance from Saturn, the seven main rings run D,C,B,A,F,G,E. (Faint, outer rings G and E are not seen in this image.)

FOUR days from now, on November 29, Cassini will make a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan and use the large moon’s gravity to nudge the spacecraft into a series of 20 daring, elliptical, ring-grazing orbits. Diving through the ring plane just 11,000 kilometers outside the F ring (far right) Cassini’s first ring-graze will be on December 4.

Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

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ya lit meme (4/8) otps
— richard campbell gansey iii and blue sargent

do you think…” he began, “you could tell me what is happening at your house right now?
what? like, what mom’s doing?
a large insect buzzed by his ear, coming in like a passenger jet. it kept going, though the flyby was close enough to tickle his skin. “or persephone. or calla. or anyone. just describe it to me.
oh,” she said. her voice changed a little. he heard a chair scraping on her side of the phone. “well, okay.
and she did. sometimes she spoke with her mouth full, and sometimes she had to pause to answer someone else, but she took her time with the story and gave each of the women in the house full measure. gansey blinked, slower. the take-out dinner smell had gone away and all that remained was the heavy, pleasant smell of growing things. that, and blue’s voice on the other end of the phone.
like that?” she asked finally.
yes,” said gansey. “thanks.”

Cassini view of Enceladus, February 15, 2016

This image was taken during Cassini’s final close flyby of Enceladus. It captures Enceladus’ heavily fractured southern hemisphere from a distance of about 83,000 kilometers. Running left to right near the terminator is Cashmere Sulcus, and extending north towards the limb is Labtayt Sulcus. Mosul Sulcus is near the limb on the left. The south pole itself is in winter night.

Credit: NASA / JPL / SSI / Justin Cowart

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Enceladus

Cassini’s closest flyby just went through the water geysers of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Earth just received Cassini’s photographs and they’re a doozy:

You can see the first two are full body pictures of the moon, it’s in a crescent phase because of the angles of Enceladus relative to the moon and Sun and all of that relative to the robot.

The third image was taken as Cassini flew right over the moon’s surface, you can see extraordinary details on the ground of this alien world. It passed a mere 30 miles away from the surface.

Fourth, looking back at you can see a shadowed Enceladus hanging above Saturn’s rings.

This was Cassini’s last extremely close flyby of this ice world. From this mission we now know that an ocean of (likely) salty water sits below the surface of this moon. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking of a sequel mission, maybe a fishing expedition? 

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

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Check out these amazing new images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft.

The top row are images edited to enhance the view of the new streamers flying from the comet as it approaches the Sun.

The bottom show the comet’s images as taken by Rosetta’s NAVCAM.

As Comet 67P gets closer to the Sun, it’s going to continue putting on a crazy light show that’s only going to get more wild. Heat from the Sun will turn much of the ice on 67P into a hazy atmosphere called a ‘coma’ and the solar wind will ionize lots of the gas on the comet as well as blow the dust out, eventually both will become prominent cometary tails.

By the way, this weekend on February 14th the Rosetta spacecraft is going to do an up-close flyby of 67P’s surface. The images are going to be remarkable.

(Image credit: ESA)

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A comet flew incredibly close to Earth this week

On Tuesday, a comet made a really close flyby across Earth (don’t worry, no impacts) at a distance that was one of the shortest in recent history. The comet, P/2016 BA14, came past Earth from 2.2 million miles away. However, the comet was really small — for comet standards — and as a result, it was only viewable in one way.

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Pluto close-up: Spacecraft makes flyby of icy, mystery world

Associated Press: NASA’s New Horizons probe had been traveling for almost 9 years and 7 months when it made its closest approach to Pluto today. The success of this mission allows the United States to become the first nation to survey the entire solar system.


NASA will receive its first data report from New Horizons at around 9 p.m. ET as the probe continues further into the Kuiper Belt.

Follow updates on Breaking News.

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P-8 days (6 July 2015) – weekend sees final flight plan uploaded, computer glich for New Horizons.

With just over a week to go before its historic flyby, New Horizons has had a busy weekend.

On Friday, mission managers at the John Hopkins University Applied Physics laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, sent the spacecraft its final flyby flight plan. Data acquired in recent weeks was used to tweak the timeline, which has been devised over the last few months.  This came just a few days after the mission was given the all-clear to fly by the icy world.

Then, on Saturday, July 4, normal communications with the spacecraft was disrupted when New Horizons’ computers entered safe mode. While a hardware or software glitch was initially the cause, controllers at APL have determined that “a hard-to-detect timing flaw in the spacecraft command sequence occurred during an operation to prepare for the close flyby.”

The probe functioned normally under the anomalous scenario by switching to its backup computer and reestablishing contact with Earth. A continuous telemetry feed of spacecraft health was then streamed to Earth. 

According to APL, New Horizons should return to data collection as early as Tuesday, July 7, exactly one week before its flyby will occur.

With New Horizons so far away from Earth, it takes over four and a half hours for a signal to reach the probe, and vice versa. Communications requiring round-trip signals take nearly nine hours.

In recent weeks, the spacecraft has taken increasingly sharp images of the dwarf planet, with the most recent colour images being released last week. While the reddish hue of Pluto has been known for decades, observations by New Horizons has given the planet a new nickname – the “other” red planet.

The mission is scheduled to come within 7,800 miles of Pluto’s surface at 7:49 am EDT, July 14, 2015.

The first image shows a color movie of the probe closing in on the Plutionian system, and is based off of these images. In the second image above, Pluto and its moon, Charon, grow larger to New Horizons’ LORRI imager. Taken from May 28 to June 25, the spacecraft ‘s distance to the dwarf planet decreased from 35 million miles to 14 million miles.

Check our New Horizons archive by clicking here.

Asteroid to Pass Near Earth on Halloween

This Halloween, the Earth will have a visitor nearly on its doorstep. But it won’t be looking for candy or tossing an egg at our windows—it’s asteroid 2015 TB145, and its flyby, while close, is no reason to be scared.

The visitor was discovered earlier this month with the help of the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS-1 telescope, part of NASA’s Near-Earth Object (NEO) Program, and is an unexpected boon to asteroid researchers.

“Every close-up view of an asteroid tells us more about their structure and composition, information we will need to someday deflect a real threat”, says Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences Curator Denton Ebel.

Since TB145 will be passing the Earth just a little farther than the orbit of the Moon—almost close enough to shout “trick or treat!”—researchers are aiming to learn everything they can about the 400-foot-wide object while the chance presents itself. It likely won’t be visible to the naked eye, but NASA is preparing to get high-resolution looks at the object as it nears Earth using radar and optical imaging.

“The close approach of 2015 TB145 at about 1.3 times the distance of the Moon’s orbit, coupled with its size, suggests it will be one of the best asteroids for radar imaging we’ll see for several years,” Lance Brenner, the head of NASA’s asteroid research program, said in a statement. The unexpected viewing is a great chance to learn more about asteroids, as the next appearance of an object of comparable size so close to Earth is not anticipated until 2027.

Until then, the Museum offers plenty of other ways to learn about asteroids, including a new series of video explainers featuringDr. Ebel. You can view the latest, which details the largest asteroids to ever hit the Earth, below:

Learn more about near-earth asteroids. 

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Odd Orbits Deepen Pluto's Mystery
The little-known underdog of the solar system continues to surprise---especially when it comes to the weird configuration of its five motley moons.

NEW HORIZONS IS practically knocking on Pluto’s door. The spacecraft is less than six weeks away from its razor-close flyby of the dwarf planet. In anticipation, Pluto research has gone into overdrive, as astronomers and planetary scientists rack up questions to ask of the coming data. Fortunately, the little-known underdog of the solar system continues to surprise—especially when it comes to the weird configuration of its five motley moons.

Continue Reading.

The largest dwarf planet in the solar system, PLUTO!!

The new horizons space probe has completed it’s close up flyby of Pluto and is now travelling behind the planet in its shadow.


However since the space probe is so far away it takes 4.5 hours for the data to travel back at the speed of light.


Not to mention it can only transfer about 1 kilobyte per second.So it’s a very slow process of taking the images and sending them back.

Which is why the most spectacular images of Pluto will be received within the next hour.




If you think this picture is incredible, you haven’t seen anything yet!

Saturn’s moon Prometheus, up close. 

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied details on the pockmarked surface of Saturn’s moon Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) during a moderately close flyby on Dec. 6, 2015. This is one of Cassini’s highest resolution views of Prometheus.

This view looks towards the anti-Saturn side of Prometheus. North on Prometheus is up. The image was acquired at a distance of approximately 23,000 miles (37,000 kilometers) from Prometheus. Image scale is 722 feet (220 meters) per pixel.

Prometheus orbits Saturn just interior to the narrow F ring, which is seen here at top.

Cassini view of Enceladus, February 15, 2016 

This image was taken during Cassini’s final close flyby of Enceladus. It captures Enceladus’ heavily fractured southern hemisphere from a distance of about 83,000 km. Running left to right near the terminator is Cashmere Sulcus, and extending north towards the limb is Labtayt Sulcus. Mosul Sulcus is near the limb on the left. The south pole itself is in winter night.

image: NASA / JPL / SSI / Justin Cowart

(via: Planetary Society)

Deepest-Ever Dive Through Enceladus Plume Completed

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its close flyby of Saturn’s moon Enceladus today, passing 30 miles (49 kilometers) above the moon’s south polar region at approximately 8:22 a.m. PDT (11:22 a.m. EDT). Mission controllers established two-way communication with the spacecraft this afternoon and expect it to begin transmitting data from the encounter this evening. Images are anticipated in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Image: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft completed its deepest-ever dive through the icy plume of Enceladus on Oct. 28, 2015.
   Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Deep Dive into Enceladus Plume

On Oct. 28, 2015, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will take the deepest dive ever through the plume of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Scientists hope this close flyby will shed light on what’s happening beneath the moon’s icy surface. With a global ocean and likely hydrothermal activity, could Enceladus have the ingredients needed to support simple forms of life?