planets picture today

Welcome to the weekly summary of the Planetary Image of the Day (PPOD)!
From Earth and Mars to the first-ever attempt to alter the course of an asteroid, this week’s images are stunning.

Monday 26 September 2022

comet

Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS to the OSIRIS MPS Team/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Comet of 8 kilometers
In October 2014, Rosetta ventured 8 kilometers from the surface of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko – less than the sailing altitude of a passenger plane – to capture this image of smooth plains and steep slopes with the OSIRIS Science Camera.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

atlas

Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / Cassini Imaging Team
Image processing and captioning: Jason Major

Atlas of the Rings
Here’s the 40-km-wide atlas of the moon seen in front of Saturn from the unlit side of the rings made from image data acquired by Cassini on September 24, 2016. Atlas orbits along the outer edge of the A-ring and was about 344,000 km away from Cassini at the time. .

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Victoria Crater

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Victoria Crater, Mars
The HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this tilted view of Victoria Crater on July 18, 2009. Normally, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter instruments are pointed straight down, but to capture this view, it looked 22 degrees from perigee, eastward. (East is at the top of this image.) The unusually tilted view allowed HiRISE to photograph the west-facing cliffs of the scalloped heads surrounding the crater. This is a crop from the original HiRISE point of view. Opportunity to explore Mars spent more than a year on Mars exploring Victoria crater, from September 2006 through August 2008, partially circumnavigating it before entering briefly to examine the steep cliffs up close. Opportunity trajectories appear as straight lines of slightly lighter colour, with reddish hues on the left side of the image, punctuated by points, indicating points where opportunity has shifted into place.

bonus:

Arrow

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University APL

Throwing DART well
Yesterday was the first of its kind in human history, and in that sense, for any life on Earth. For the first time, we are in a position to literally change the course of cosmic events. It will take from a few days to a few weeks to see how the DART spacecraft will affect the trajectory of the asteroid Demorphos, but the effect has occurred successfully.

The autonomous navigation ended up in a bull’s-eyes effect, completing the last 6.5 kilometers in just one second. In addition, the roofs of Didymus and Demorphos resemble the roofs of Bennu, a beautiful pile of rubble.

Telescopes around the world saw a clear brightening of the system, many of which even captured a debris cloud! This mission is the first step in the development of the Planetary Defense Program.

Thursday 29 September 2022

Neptune system

Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Neptune’s infrared system
One of JWST’s latest images is the clearest look at Neptune’s rings in more than 30 years, and the first time we’ve seen them in infrared light. Enjoy JWST’s ghostly and ethereal views of the planet, its dust bands, its rings, and its moons. (Some of these episodes haven’t been discovered since Voyager 2 flew in 1989!)

What is this on the top left? This is not a star. It’s Neptune’s unusually large moon, Triton! Because Triton is covered in frozen, condensed nitrogen, it reflects 70% of the sunlight that strikes it—making it appear too bright for JWST. Six of Neptune’s other moons can also be seen as small, specific points surrounding Neptune and its rings.

In visible light, Neptune appears blue due to the presence of small amounts of methane in its atmosphere. Here, JWST’s NIRCam instrument spotted Neptune at near-infrared wavelengths, so Neptune isn’t its usual blue colour.

Friday 30 September 2022

The Bahamas from space

credit: NASA

Beautiful Bahamas
This image was taken by a member of Expedition 34 aboard the International Space Station, looking at the Bahamas from orbit, on January 13, 2013.

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