|To the Cassini spacecraft's infrared eyes, Saturn's graceful
clouds sometimes take on the appearance of an impressionist's painting of the
giant planet. This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 18 degrees
above the ring plane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle
camera on Aug. 12, 2013. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 994,000 miles (1.6
million kilometers) from Saturn. |
On July 19, 2013 NASA's Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn's shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings -- and, in the background, our home planet, Earth. With the sun's powerful and potentially damaging rays eclipsed by Saturn itself, Cassini's onboard cameras were able to take advantage of this unique viewing geometry. They acquired a panoramic mosaic of the Saturn system that allows scientists to see details in the rings and throughout the system as they are backlit by the sun. This mosaic is special as it marks the third time our home planet was imaged from the outer solar system; the second time it was imaged by Cassini from Saturn's orbit; and the first time ever that inhabitants of Earth were made aware in advance that their photo would be taken from such a great distance. With both Cassini's wide-angle and narrow-angle cameras aimed at Saturn, Cassini was able to capture 323 images in just over four hours. This final mosaic uses 141 of those wide-angle images, which spans about 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across. In the lower right of the mosaic, in between the bright blue E ring and the faint but defined G ring, is the pale blue dot of our planet, Earth. Look closely and you can see the moon protruding from the Earth's lower right.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Recent Cassini Photos of Saturn
For today's blog posting I decided to check in with the Cassini mission to see what new pictures NASA has taken.