Tuesday, December 03, 2013

40 Years Ago: Pioneer 10 Flies By Jupiter

In the last entry, I posted a crescent view of Jupiter from Pioneer 10, on this, the 40th anniversary of the closest approach (December 3, 1973), I decided to share this view of Jupiter from the approach phase.  As time permits, I hope to do more with this dataset.

   
Processed Image Copyright Ted Stryk, Data Courtesy NASA/Ames Research Center.  A special thanks to the Ames Research Center history office for helping me find the data used in making this. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Jupiter and Io from Pioneer 10

This is a parting shot of Jupiter and Io, taken December 5, 1973, by the Pioneer 10 spacecraft, the first to see either world as a crescent.  This image was generated with red and blue channel data from the spacecraft's imaging photopolarimeter (image set B26, for anyone wondering), which scanned the planet as the spacecraft rotated.  The maximum scan length was only 466 pixels, leading to postage-stamp sized images that are often blown up to ridiculous sizes.  This image is shown at a significantly larger scale than its original size for clarity, and extra black sky has been added for effect.  The data for this image was of rather poor quality, especially on the red channel.   Still, it is a nice reminder of one of the most overlook "firsts" in solar system exploration.


 Processed Image Copyright Ted Stryk, Data Courtesy NASA/Ames Research Center.  A special thanks to the Ames Research Center history office for helping me find the data used in making this. 

Friday, April 05, 2013

The Land Between Triton's Frozen Lakes

One of the biggest discoveries of the last decade has been the discovery of unfrozen lakes on Saturn's moon Titan.  This was the last good chance we had at finding standing liquid and non-transient streams and rivers on the surface of any extraterrestrial world in in our solar system, Io's lakes of magma nonwithstanding.  Such things had clearly existed in the past, but were either dried up or frozen over.  Back in 1989, there were hopes that we would find lakes of liquid nitrogen on on Neptune's moon Triton.   And indeed, it had produced such lakes, but they have since frozen over.   Fortunately, a pair of these lakes were in the area that received the best coverage from Voyager.   This included a narrow "bridge" that separated the pair, which was included in four of the highest resolution images of Triton obtained. This allowed me to stack them to reduce noise and improve clarity (although not all of them include the whole area covered here).  I wasn't able to get (or expecting to get) a great improvement over my previous processing efforts or those of others, but there is a moderate gain in clarity.  To be honest, I took this on for an April Fools prank, but I couldn't decide on how to approach that on time.   Still, since I went to the trouble of doing the processing work, I figured I'd share the result. It is shown at ~375 m/pixel.



 Processed Image Copyright Ted Stryk, Raw Data Courtesy NASA/JPL

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mysterious Umbriel

Umbriel, a moon of Uranus, is about 1200 km across, is less reflective than the planet's other moons, except for mysterious bright features seen on the rim of what appears to be a crater and the central peak of another.   It was imaged by Voyager 2 in January of 1986, at 10 km per pixel in the two images snapped at closest approach.  Unfortunately, one was underexposed and slightly smeared, and the other was properly exposed but very smeared.  My processing of the images a few years ago, which can be seen here, was focused around desmearing and bring out detail.  This is all well and good, but the artifacts from such processing made it, well, ugly.  While there are other views that include more images and were less smeared/underexposed, they were much more distant, making them frustratingly small.   I decided to start from scratch, reprocessing the two highest resolution frames, combining them at 125% of their original size, and create a color overlay from more distant images.  Having refined some of the techniques I used in 2009 and trying to avoid overextending the processing, I have created a version that is much more beautiful and perhaps gives us an idea what Umbriel really looks like.  Since it will be at least another decade, and probably much more, before we see Umbriel close up again, it is unlikely to give up its secrets any time soon.
 Processed Image Copyright Ted Stryk, Raw Data Courtesy NASA/JPL

Monday, January 07, 2013

The 400th Anniversary of the discovery of the Galilean moons of Jupiter

In honor of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Galilean moons of Jupiter (from largest to smallest - Ganymede, Callisto, Io, Europa), here they are to scale from NASA's Galileo spacecraft (with the exception of a tiny bit of Voyager-derived gap-fill for Callisto).
Processed Images Copyright Ted Stryk, Raw Data Courtesy NASA/JPL

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mars from Mariner 4

This week, Emily Lakdawalla posted a blog post about Mariner 4, the first spacecraft to photograph another planet,  using my catalog of reprocessed Mariner 4 image mosaics, combining the best analog data I could find combined with digital fragments. 

To add to it, here are the first four images as one mosaic.  The gap between the mosaics of frames 1-2 and 3-4 isn't much more than some of the calibration marks on the individual frames, so interpolation was used to connect them .
Processed Images Copyright Ted Stryk, Raw Data Courtesy NASA/JPL