Sunday, August 11, 2013

Music Festival and Cassini Photos

Yesterday was a busy day, as are most during this summer season.  The day was made more challenging by the fact that I decided to have a yard sale.  Thanks to Jill, and especially to her grandson, Shea, for helping with the yard sale.  I gave Shea a percentage of sales revenue.  Although it took effort, it was a win-win-win day.  Shea earned some money, customers were able to purchase some artifacts and other details, and the museum made a little bit extra money.  I forgot to take pictures....

I did spend a few hours at festival after I closed the museum.  Here are just a few pictures.

After Skyping with my grandson this morning (thanks Jonathan!), I decided to check on the progress of the Cassini probe.  Last October  NASA’s Cassini spacecraft marked 15 years in space   As of last fall, Cassini had logged more than 3.8 billion miles (6.1 billion kilometers) since its launch on Oct. 15, 1997. . The spacecraft has made many contributions since arriving at Saturn in July 2004, including discovering water-ice geysers on the moon Encelaudus and snapping the first views of the hydrocarbon lakes on Saturn’s largest moon Titan.

During its time in space, the Cassini probe has sent home about 444 gigabytes of scientific data, including more than 300,000 images. Researchers have published more than 2,500 papers based on Cassini data so far.

The above images taken by Cassini captured this rare look at Earth and its moon from Saturn orbit on July 19, 2013. The image below shows a close up view that has been magnified five times. Taken while performing a large wide-angle mosaic of the entire Saturn ring system, narrow-angle camera images were deliberately inserted into the sequence in order to image Earth and its moon. This is the second time that Cassini has imaged Earth from within Saturn's shadow, and only the third time ever that our planet has been imaged from the outer solar system.


The image below shows the history of orbits Cassini has had around the planet Saturn.

 In April 2017, a close encounter with Titan will sling Cassini on a path that will take it inside Saturn’s innermost ring, just a hair away from the top of the giant planet’s atmosphere. Cassini will make 22 such close passes, and then a gravitational tug from a final, distant flyby of Titan will seal the spacecraft’s fate. It will crash into Saturn on Sept. 15, 2017. On its death dive — performed to protect potentially life-harboring worlds such as Titan and Enceladus from contamination — Cassini will be crushed and vaporized by the pressures and temperatures of the ringed planet.  Its last orbits may be the most thrilling of all, because we'll be able to find out what it's like close in to the planet, with data that cannot be gathered any other way.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute and NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

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