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Sunspot detail revealed by supercomputers

...A comprehensive computer model of sunspots will advance research into the inner workings of our Sun and its impact on the Earth...

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New map shines light on Moon's shadowed craters

...A new high resolution map of the Moon's rugged south pole region provides new and unprecedented detail of permanently shadowed craters that could be hiding water ice deposits...

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Herschel opens its eyes

...ESA's Herschel Space Observatory opened its eyes for the first time last week, soaking in the sights of M51, the Whirlpool galaxy...

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STS-120 day 2 highlights

Flight Day 2 of Discovery's mission focused on heat shield inspections. This movie shows the day's highlights.

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STS-120 day 1 highlights

The highlights from shuttle Discovery's launch day are packaged into this movie.

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STS-118: Highlights

The STS-118 crew, including Barbara Morgan, narrates its mission highlights film and answers questions in this post-flight presentation.

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STS-120: Rollout to pad

Space shuttle Discovery rolls out of the Vehicle Assembly Building and travels to launch pad 39A for its STS-120 mission.

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Dawn leaves Earth

NASA's Dawn space probe launches aboard a Delta 2-Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral to explore two worlds in the asteroid belt.

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Dawn: Launch preview

These briefings preview the launch and science objectives of NASA's Dawn asteroid orbiter.

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New images kick off Cassini celebrations at Greenwich

BY DR EMILY BALDWIN

ASTRONOMY NOW

Posted: 22 June, 2009


The Cassini imaging team have released a set of never-before-seen images and movies of the Saturn system to coincide with the opening of a week-long celebration of the mission at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

Cassini has been orbiting Saturn since 1 July 2004 and is now in its Equinox mission phase that will see the giant planet experience equinox this August, the twice-yearly occasion when the Sun passes through the plane containing the planet's rings. For Saturn this occurs once every 15 Earth years.

The shadow of moon Mimas dips onto the planet’s rings and straddles the Cassini Division in this natural colour image. Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

The unique illumination geometry allows features to be discerned in unprecedented detail. Just last week we reported on the spectacular out-of-plane structures seen towering out of the planet’s rings, and this week’s bounty includes time-lapse sequences of Saturn’s moons as they eclipse each other and cast long shadows onto the rings.

“It has been a scientist's delight to watch this almost wafer-thin collection of icy debris, that we have come to know so well, change in character and spring into the third dimension,” says Cassini Imaging Team leader Carolyn Porco. “Five years into this mission and we find there are still new tales to be told.”

The release of the new images coincides with the opening of a week-long celebration of the Cassini mission, which has been exploring the Saturnian for the last five years. The "Visions of Saturn" exhibition is on display at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and includes striking pictures of hurricane-force storms in Saturn's turbulent atmosphere, the delicate tracery of the ring system and a weird and wonderful array of satellites, including enigmatic worlds Enceladus and Titan.

Members of the Cassini Project, including Carolyn Porco, will be speaking to the public at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich during the evenings of the 25, 26 and 27 June. Check http://www.nmm.ac.uk/visit/events/cassini-talks for details.

The new images and movies can be found at http://ciclops.org, http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini.

The Planets
From tiny Mercury to distant Neptune and Pluto, The Planets profiles each of the Solar System's members in depth, featuring the latest imagery from space missions. The tallest mountains, the deepest canyons, the strongest winds, raging atmospheric storms, terrain studded with craters and vast worlds of ice are just some of the sights you'll see on this 100-page tour of the planets.
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Hubble Reborn
Hubble Reborn takes the reader on a journey through the Universe with spectacular full-colour pictures of galaxies, nebulae, planets and stars as seen through Hubble's eyes, along the way telling the dramatic story of the space telescope, including interviews with key scientists and astronauts.
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3D Universe
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