wide angle camera

For NASA, Earth Day is Every Day!

With a fleet of spacecraft orbiting our home planet collecting data on everything from the air we breathe to natural disasters that impact our lives, Earth is always in focus. Join us as we celebrate our home with beautiful views from our unique vantage point of space.

On December 17, 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 snapped this iconic image of planet Earth. Dubbed the Blue Marble, this image was taken as Apollo 17 rocketed toward the moon. 

On the way to the moon or from the surface of Mars, our spacecraft have photographed the beauty of Earth from many vantage points. In this image, the most powerful telescope orbiting Mars captured this view of Earth and its moon, showing continent-size detail on the planet and the relative size of the moon. The image combines two separate exposures taken on November 20, 2016, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. 

In this image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on our Cassini spacecraft captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame.

Our Suomi-NPP satellite also observed the Earth at night. Earth’s “night lights” often have a gee-whiz curiosity for the public , but have also served as a tool for fundamental research for nearly 25 years. They have provided a broad, beautiful picture, showing how humans have shaped the planet and lit up the darkness. 

You can be mesmerized by the constant swirls in these visualizations of ocean currents. The swirling flows of tens of thousands of ocean currents were captured using the largest computations of their kind ever undertaken, using high-end computing resources at our Ames Research Center. 

We’ve all seen iconic photographs of Earth shot by astronauts. But even satellites and robotic spacecraft often get in on the act. The above image, called “Pale Blue Dot,” was taken Voyager 1 in February 1990 from a distance of 4 billion miles.

Our satellites do more than take pretty pictures of Earth. They do everything from measure rainfall to observe weather patterns. The ten satellites in the Global Precipitation Measurement Constellation have provided unprecedented information about rain and snow fall across the entire Earth. This visualization shows the constellation in action, taking precipitation measurements underneath the satellite orbits. 

In an homage to Apollo 17′s “Blue Marble” image, Suomi-NPP, a joint NASA-NOAA Earth-observing satellite, made this composite image, by making a number of swaths of Earth’s surface on January 4, 2012. 

What’s your favorite aspect of planet Earth? These kids have their own ideas. You can even “adopt” parts of the planet. Which one of the 64,000 locations will you get? 

Our home planet is constantly changing, which is why our fleet of Earth-observing satellites continuously monitor the globe, recording every moment of what they see. Luckily for us, many of the views are not only deeply informative but also awe-inspiring. 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

youtube

Basic Camera Angles

2

Robin from Fisheye Placebo looking melancholic in the city night. I wanted her eyes to resemble the fisheye lens of her camera. Many people think photography objectively captures reality, but that couldn’t further from the truth. A photographer can only capture the reality he/she chooses to see through. The types of lenses used, what’s included vs excluded in the photo, camera settings, and countless other things can alter the feeling a photo gives off, and thus reinterpreting the reality seen through the lens.

In other news, I’ve finally picked out my team of 3D artists to help me speed up my comic production. We’re still in some testing stages but I’ll be announcing the new team soon with sample artworks! So excited!

flickr

White Slim Angel (Vivitar Wide & Slim) Toy Camera by Meagan Ranes
Via Flickr:
Moss Beach

4

Close Views Show Saturn’s Rings in Unprecedented Detail

Newly released images showcase the incredible closeness with which NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, now in its “Ring-Grazing” orbits phase, is observing Saturn’s dazzling rings of icy debris.

The views are some of the closest-ever images of the outer parts of the main rings, giving scientists an eagerly awaited opportunity to observe features with names like “straw” and “propellers.” Although Cassini saw these features earlier in the mission, the spacecraft’s current, special orbits are now providing opportunities to see them in greater detail. The new images resolve details as small as 0.3 miles (550 meters), which is on the scale of Earth’s tallest buildings.

Cassini is now about halfway through its penultimate mission phase – 20 orbits that dive past the outer edge of the main ring system. The ring-grazing orbits began last November, and will continue until late April, when Cassini begins its grand finale. During the 22 finale orbits, Cassini will repeatedly plunge through the gap between the rings and Saturn. The first finale plunge is scheduled for April 26.

For now, the veteran spacecraft is shooting past the outer edges of the rings every week, gathering some of its best images of the rings and moons. Already Cassini has sent back the closest-ever views of small moons Daphnis and Pandora.

Some of the structures seen in recent Cassini images have not been visible at this level of detail since the spacecraft arrived at Saturn in mid-2004. At that time, fine details like straw and propellers – which are caused by clumping ring particles and small, embedded moonlets, respectively – had never been seen before. (Although propellers were present in Cassini’s arrival images, they were actually discovered in later analysis, the following year.)

Cassini came a bit closer to the rings during its arrival at Saturn, but the quality of those arrival images (examples: 1, 2, 3) was not as high as in the new views. Those precious few observations only looked out on the backlit side of the rings, and the team chose short exposure times to minimize smearing due to Cassini’s fast motion as it vaulted over the ring plane. This resulted in images that were scientifically stunning, but somewhat dark and noisy.

In contrast, the close views Cassini has begun capturing in its ring-grazing orbits (and soon will capture in its Grand Finale phase) are taking in both the backlit and sunlit side of the rings. Instead of just one brief pass lasting a few hours, Cassini is making several dozen passes during these final months.

“As the person who planned those initial orbit-insertion ring images – which remained our most detailed views of the rings for the past 13 years – I am taken aback by how vastly improved are the details in this new collection,” said Cassini Imaging Team Lead Carolyn Porco, of Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado. “How fitting it is that we should go out with the best views of Saturn’s rings we’ve ever collected.”

After nearly 13 years studying Saturn’s rings from orbit, the Cassini team has a deeper, richer understanding of what they’re seeing, but they still anticipate new surprises.

“These close views represent the opening of an entirely new window onto Saturn’s rings, and over the next few months we look forward to even more exciting data as we train our cameras on other parts of the rings closer to the planet,” said Matthew Tiscareno, a Cassini scientist who studies Saturn’s rings at the SETI Institute, Mountain View, California. Tiscareno planned the new images for the camera team.

Launched in 1997, Cassini has been touring the Saturn system since arriving in 2004 for an up-close study of the planet, its rings and moons, and its vast magnetosphere. Cassini has made numerous dramatic discoveries, including a global ocean with indications of hydrothermal activity within the moon Enceladus, and liquid methane seas on another moon, Titan.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena. The Cassini imaging operations center is based at Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

TOP IMAGE….Moon Waves and Moon Wakes This Cassini image features a density wave in Saturn’s A ring (at left) that lies around 134,500 km from Saturn. Density waves are accumulations of particles at certain distances from the planet. This feature is filled with clumpy perturbations, which researchers informally refer to as “straw.” The wave itself is created by the gravity of the moons Janus and Epimetheus, which share the same orbit around Saturn. Elsewhere, the scene is dominated by “wakes” from a recent pass of the ring moon Pan.

Two versions of this image are available. This is a lightly processed version, with minimal enhancement, preserving all original details present in the image. The other version (Figure 1) has been processed to remove the small bright blemishes caused by cosmic rays and charged particle radiation near the planet – a more aesthetically pleasing image, but with a slight softening of the finest details.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 18, 2016. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 34,000 miles (56,000 kilometers) from the rings and looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings. Image scale is about a quarter-mile (340 meters) per pixel.


CENTRE IMAGE….The Propeller Belts in Saturn’s A Ring This image from NASA’s Cassini mission shows a region in Saturn’s A ring. The level of detail is twice as high as this part of the rings has ever been seen before. The view contains many small, bright blemishes due to cosmic rays and charged particle radiation near the planet.

The view shows a section of the A ring known to researchers for hosting belts of propellers – bright, narrow, propeller-shaped disturbances in the ring produced by the gravity of unseen embedded moonlets. Several small propellers are visible in this view. These are on the order of 10 times smaller than the large, bright propellers whose orbits scientists have routinely tracked (and which are given nicknames for famous aviators).

The prominent feature at left is a density wave created by the ring’s gravitational interaction with the moon Prometheus (the 12:11 resonance). Density waves are spiral-shaped disturbances (similar to the spiral arms of galaxies) that propagate through the rings at certain distances from the planet. (For more about density waves, see PIA09894)

Three versions of this image are available. This image is a lightly processed version, with minimal enhancement, preserving all original details present in the image. A second version has circles to indicate the locations of many of the small propellers in the image (Figure 1). The third version has been processed to remove the bright blemishes due to cosmic rays and charged particle radiation – a more aesthetically pleasing image, but with a slight softening of the finest details (Figure 2).

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 18, 2016. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 33,000 miles (54,000 kilometers) from the rings and looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings. Image scale is about a quarter-mile (330 meters) per pixel.

LOWER IMAGE….Saturn’s B Ring, Finer Than Ever This image shows a region in Saturn’s outer B ring. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft viewed this area at a level of detail twice as high as it had ever been observed before. And from this view, it is clear that there are still finer details to uncover.

Researchers have yet to determine what generated the rich structure seen in this view, but they hope detailed images like this will help them unravel the mystery.

In order to preserve the finest details, this image has not been processed to remove the many small bright blemishes, which are created by cosmic rays and charged particle radiation near the planet.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 18, 2016. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 32,000 miles (51,000 kilometers) from the rings, and looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings. Image scale is about a quarter-mile (360 meters) per pixel.


BOTTOM IMAGE….Straw in the B Ring’s Edge This image shows a region in Saturn’s outer B ring. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft viewed this area at a level of detail twice as high as it had ever been observed before.

The view here is of the outer edge of the B ring, at left, which is perturbed by the most powerful gravitational resonance in the rings: the “2:1 resonance” with the icy moon Mimas. This means that, for every single orbit of Mimas, the ring particles at this specific distance from Saturn orbit the planet twice. This results in a regular tugging force that perturbs the particles in this location.

A lot of structure is visible in the zone near the edge on the left. This is likely due to some combination of the gravity of embedded objects too small to see, or temporary clumping triggered by the action of the resonance itself. Scientists informally refer to this type of structure as “straw.”

This image was taken using a fairly long exposure, causing the embedded clumps to smear into streaks as they moved in their orbits. Later Cassini orbits will bring shorter exposures of the same region, which will give researchers a better idea of what these clumps look like. But in this case, the smearing does help provide a clearer idea of how the clumps are moving.

This image is a lightly processed version, with minimal enhancement; this version preserves all original details present in the image. Another other version (Figure 1) has been processed to remove the small bright blemishes due to cosmic rays and charged particle radiation near the planet – a more aesthetically pleasing image, but with a slight softening of the finest details.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 18, 2016. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers) from the rings and looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings. Image scale is about a quarter-mile (360 meters) per pixel.

With giant Saturn hanging in the blackness and sheltering Cassini from the sun’s blinding glare, the spacecraft viewed the rings as never before, revealing previously unknown faint rings and even glimpsing its home world. This marvelous panoramic view was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera over nearly three hours on Sept. 15, 2006.

Credit

NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Ringed beauty

With this view, Cassini captured one of its last looks at Saturn and its main rings from a distance. The Saturn system has been Cassini’s home for 13 years, but its journey will end on 15 September.

Cassini has been orbiting Saturn for nearly a half of a Saturnian year. This extended stay has permitted observations of the long-term variability of the planet, moons, rings and magnetosphere, observations not possible from short, flyby-style missions.

When the spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004, the planet’s northern hemisphere, seen at the top here, was in darkness, just beginning to emerge from winter. Now at journey’s end, the entire north pole is bathed in the continuous sunlight of summer.

Images taken on 28 October, 2016 with the wide angle camera using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this colour view. This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 25 degrees above the ringplane.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.4 million km from Saturn. Image scale is 80 km/pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of ESA, NASA and the Italian space agency ASI. The image was published today as the Cassini weekly image.

Infrared Saturn Clouds : This false-color view from NASAs Cassini spacecraft shows clouds in Saturns northern hemisphere. The view was made using images taken by Cassinis wide-angle camera on July 20, 2016, using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to infrared light at 750, 727 and 619 nanometers.

js