Iapetus Raw

Images taken by various space probes are made available to the public soon after they are uploaded to Earth, but because of the sheer number received, most images remain in raw form until they can be calibrated and corrected. These raw images are full of artifacts from data loss, cosmic rays, and dust on the camera lens (see the background image of Iapetus). The images may also be overexposed or variable contrast.

The availability of these images is a boon for space enthusiasts and amateur scientists. During the Voyager missions of the 1970s and 1980s, the public had to wait for their newspaper to arrive, the nightly news to come on, or a new book to be published on the subject to see the latest images of the outer planets and their moons. With the advent of the Internet, awe is just a click away.

The public database of images taken by Cassini is available at JPL’s Cassini-Huygens website.