Wallpaper Monday

An email dropped into my inbox today from Carolyn Porco, director of the Cassini project. When she sends out an email blast, it’s always worth looking.

And so it was:


It’s the “Cassini’s Image of the Week,” and it happens to be of my favorite moon. Okay, one of my favorite moons.

The brightly reflective moon Enceladus appears before Saturn’s rings while the larger moon Titan looms in the distance.

Jets of water ice and vapor emanating from the south pole of Enceladus and hinting at a subsurface, organic-rich sea, and liquid hydrocarbons ponded on the surface Titan make these two of the most fascinating moons in the Saturnian system.

Enceladus (313 miles, 504 kilometers across) is in the center of the image. Titan (3200 miles, 5150 kilometers across) can faintly be seen in the background beyond the rings.

Ooo. Purty. And Cassini was a million kilometers away from Enceladus when it snapped this shot! Now that’s a zoom lens.

(Click the image to saturnize.)


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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6 Responses to Wallpaper Monday

  1. Ana_ñ says:

    I just can’t choose between the two stunning Cassini’s images you have posted recently.
    Apart from their astronomical significance, which set the imagination soaring, their geometric beauty gives a true aesthetic pleasure. Reason and emotion. Works of art and science. Whether cronusized or saturnized. 🙂

  2. Paulo says:

    I’m a big fan of Cassini and Dr.Carolyn Porco as well (despite her unfortunate name…), even though I’m really crazy for the Mars rovers since they were little kids. But the Cassini and Kepler missions have been keeping me in awe as well. And as I say this we are getting ready for a moonless night of stargazing and photography at Cannon Beach … and I am not rubbing it in. The Alentejo sky, outside the light-polluted areas, is astounding and I wish I can go there this summer.

    Anyway, this comment is just to leave you this wonderful video made from Cassini images… in the off chance you haven’t seen it yet.


    • oregon expat says:

      😀 Would you believe I just posted that video to the blog, and then opened my email and found your comment? Great minds…

      Envious about your Cannon Beach trip! But I can’t complain — having lived at the coast for 13 years, I had many opportunities to simply step out my front door and see the Milky Way in a dark, unpolluted sky.

      Somewhere in the brochures I picked up on recent travels, I found one touting the Alentejo as a superb stargazing locale, to the point of receiving some sort of official designation to that effect. Go, Alentejo! That could lead to some great tourism if it’s promoted properly.

      • Paulo says:

        That’s why it was the first thing I did when I watched the video this morning… I knew I was trying to beat some crazy odds.

        I think it’s “great minds … probably subscribe to the same science blogs and/or twitter feeds and are paying attention to the great exciting news coming out of the inter webs via bad or good astronomers…”

        Yes, I never forget the Alentejo sky, although some night experiences in the wild expanses of Tras-os-Montes are also very vivid in my memory. I have a couple of telescope-touting friends who I am persuading into a deep-Portugal trip.

        On a different note: Frank Bruni of the NYT has a remarkable piece on Lisbon and the economic suicide of my country today. Sobering, accurate and truly depressing…

        • Paulo says:

          Correction: sorry, that would be “telescope-toting”, even though some touting is also involved.

          • oregon expat says:

            I’m familiar with that sort of touting! Birders are notorious for it.

            Just read the Bruni article. It’s depressing because it reflects the reality I see around me every day. We know about downward trending salaries in this household, but still consider ourselves fortunate. I have no idea how some people are surviving.

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