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A snapshot of Titan

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

T-17 Flyby
T-17 Flyby -- Raw Image N00065334
Image Credit: NASA/JPL
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N00065334.jpg was received on Earth, Sept. 8, 2006. The camera was pointing toward TITAN at approximately 137,854 kilometers away, using the CL1 and CB3 filters. The image reportedly has not been validated or calibrated. A validated/calibrated image is expected to be archived with the NASA Planetary Data System in 2007.

Hubble Captures a Rare Eclipse on Uranus

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Uranus Eclipse
Arial traverses Uranus
click for larger image

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image is a never-before-seen astronomical alignment of a moon traversing the face of Uranus, and its accompanying shadow. The white dot near the center of Uranus’ blue-green disk is the icy moon Ariel. The 700-mile-diameter satellite is casting a shadow onto the cloud tops of Uranus. To an observer on Uranus, this would appear as a solar eclipse, where the moon briefly blocks out the Sun as its shadow races across Uranus’s cloud tops. Though such "transits" by moons across the disks of their parents are commonplace for some other gas giant planets, such as Jupiter, the satellites of Uranus orbit the planet in such a way that they rarely cast shadows on the planet's surface. Uranus is tilted so that its spin axis lies nearly in its orbital plane. The planet is essentially tipped over on its side. The moons of Uranus orbit the planet above the equator, so their paths align edge-on to the Sun only every 42 years. This color composite image was created from images at three wavelengths in near infrared light obtained with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys on July 26, 2006. Dr. Kathy Rages, of the SETI Institute, made the identification of the bright spot as Ariel.

Credit: NASA, ESA, L. Sromovsky (University of Wisconsin, Madison), H. Hammel (Space Science Institute), and K. Rages (SETI)