A Northern View of Saturn’s Stained Moon Iapetus

Iapetus

Saturn's moon Iapetus, imaged by Cassini on March 31, 2015 (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)Saturn’s moon Iapetus, imaged by Cassini on March 31, 2015 (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

Here’s a raw image of Saturn’s moon Iapetus, looking down on its northern hemisphere from Cassini on March 31, 2015. The moon’s signature two-toned coloration is evident as its bright icy surface is partially coated by dark material, thought to have been ejected from distant neighbor Phoebe.

Iapetus is 914 miles (1,471 km) in diameter, or about as wide as Texas and Louisiana combined. It orbits Saturn at a considerable distance of 2,212,889 miles (3,561,300 km), which is nine times farther than the Moon is from us.

Iapetus’ north pole is located just below and to the left of the centrally-peaked crater south of the brightest region in the image above.

Learn more about Iapetus here.

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The Fall of Rome and All That

Rise, Fall, Rise, Fall… and repeat

TIME

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

Last November, Ted Cruz of Texas stood on the Senate floor and claimed that America, like ancient Rome, faced a moment of grave, existential danger. He’s not the only one telling scary stories about ghosts in togas.

Over the past six months alone, media outlets (including this one) have averaged about one gloom-and-doom essay a month, citing everything from America’s cultural relativism to the increasing use of drones in military conflict to the spread of gay marriage as proof that Rome’s history is repeating itself.

[newsletter-the-brief]

As a historian of the Roman Empire, I’d like to suggest there’s really no need for alarm.

One of the most well-known moments in history, the “Fall of Rome,” is not a…

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This Was Rosetta’s View of Earth and the Moon in March 2005

Rosetta’s View of Earth and Moon circa 2005

The Moon beyond Earth's limb imaged by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft on March 4, 2005 (ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)The Moon beyond Earth’s limb imaged by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft on March 4, 2005 (ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

ESA’s comet-chasing Rosetta mission is best known today for its two historic firsts of entering orbit around a comet and sending a lander onto the surface of said comet, in May and November of 2014 respectively. But Rosetta didn’t just go directly from its March 2, 2004 launch to comet 67P; it had to perform several flyby maneuvers beforehand with planets and asteroids on its way out to meet a comet. And now, ESA has shared many of the images acquired during those close passes during its cruise phase in a series of online albums for the public to easily access.

The image above shows the Moon beyond the hazy line of Earth’s atmosphere, acquired on March 4, 2005 during Rosetta’s first gravity-assist flyby of Earth just over a year after its…

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The Fountain Garden

One of the most beautiful fountains & gardens in the world!

Smithsonian Gardens

The theme of Garden Fest this year is “Water, Water, Everywhere.” Join us on May 9th, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Enid A. Haupt Garden for a celebration of the role water plays in sustaining healthy garden and healthy humans. The day will include live music, the creation of a water-themed community art project, and numerous educational activities. In this blog post Smithsonian Gardens volunteer Annette B. Ramírez de Arellano takes an in-depth look at the history behind one of our most popular water features in the gardens. 

Gardens are central to the design of the Smithsonian Quad, which comprises the space between the Castle and Independence Avenue. While the Victorian parterre is the largest and most central area of the Enid A. Haupt Garden, two smaller gardens are tucked among the museums. The Fountain Garden, which abuts the National Museum of African Art, is of Moorish design and incorporates key design elements…

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Read Stephen Hawking’s Sweet Note to Eddie Redmayne After His Oscar Win

Stephen Hawking really is an exceptional human being – out of this world!!

TIME

Stephen Hawking, who joined Facebook just a few months ago, used the social media site to write a brief but touching note to Eddie Redmayne, who won the Best Actor Oscar Sunday night. In The Theory of Everything, Redmayne portrayed the world-renowned physicist and his struggle with ALS.

Shortly after the Academy Awards ceremony, Hawking shared the following post, saying he was “very proud” of the actor:

In his acceptance speech, Redmayne said, “I’m fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man. This Oscar belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS.”

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