Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:56 PM
n2doc (38,885 posts)
Gorgeous New Backlit View of Saturn
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has delivered a glorious view of Saturn, taken while the spacecraft was in Saturn’s shadow. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
The Cassini team has done it again. A new 60-image mosaic of Saturn shows a back-lit view of the giant ringed world in several wavelengths, making Saturn look like a colorful holiday ornament. In October, the Cassini spacecraft was deliberately positioned within Saturn’s shadow, and the cameras were turned toward Saturn and with the Sun behind the planet.
“Of all the many glorious images we have received from Saturn, none are more strikingly unusual than those taken from Saturn’s shadow,” said Carolyn Porco, Cassini’s imaging team lead based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “They unveil a rare splendor seldom seen anywhere else in our solar system.”
“Looking back towards the Sun is a geometry referred to by planetary scientists as “high solar phase;” near the center of the target’s shadow is the highest phase possible,” the Cassini team explained. Not only does this produce a stunning image, but it is very scientifically advantageous as well, as it can reveal details about both the rings and atmosphere that cannot be seen in lower solar phase.
Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/99073/gorgeous-new-backlit-view-of-saturn/
15 replies, 6845 views
Gorgeous New Backlit View of Saturn (Original post)
|Martin Eden||Dec 2012||#5|
|Markus Che||Dec 2012||#9|
|Little Star||Dec 2012||#13|
Response to n2doc (Original post)
Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:49 AM
Turborama (21,644 posts)
8. I was going to post this before discovering your OP...
A Splendor Seldom Seen
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has delivered a glorious view of Saturn, taken while the spacecraft was in Saturn's shadow. The cameras were turned toward Saturn and the sun so that the planet and rings are backlit. (The sun is behind the planet, which is shielding the cameras from direct sunlight.) In addition to the visual splendor, this special, very-high-phase viewing geometry lets scientists study ring and atmosphere phenomena not easily seen at a lower phase.
Since images like this can only be taken while the sun is behind the planet, this beautiful view is all the more precious for its rarity. The last time Cassini captured a view like this was in Sept. 2006, when it captured a mosaic processed to look like natural color, entitled "In Saturn's Shadow." In that mosaic, planet Earth put in a special appearance, making "In Saturn's Shadow" one of the most popular Cassini images to date. Earth does not appear in this mosaic as it is hidden behind the planet.
Also captured in this image are two of Saturn's moons: Enceladus and Tethys. Both appear on the left side of the planet, below the rings. Enceladus is closer to the rings; Tethys is below and to the left.
This view looks toward the non-illuminated side of the rings from about 19 degrees below the ring plane.
Images taken using infrared, red and violet spectral filters were combined to create this enhanced-color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 17, 2012 at a distance of approximately 500,000 miles (800,000 kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale at Saturn is about 30 miles per pixel (50 kilometers per pixel).
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Response to n2doc (Original post)
Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:13 PM
muriel_volestrangler (76,898 posts)
12. So, the section of rings inside Saturn's shadow is lit by light reflected off the rings at the side?
I can't see where else the light could come from. Is that using the same exposure as used for the rings themselves, or has it been enhanced? If not enhanced, it would seem to mean an awful lot of light gets reflected off the rings towards the night side of the planet.
Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #12)
Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:54 PM
Posteritatis (18,807 posts)
15. They're reflective, (usually) angled, and gigantic to boot.
There's definitely going to be a lot of light being reflected because of all of that, either directly or bounced from one fragment in the rings to another for awhile. Even a fraction of the sunlight adds up when the reflector's 40 billion square kilometers or so, especially during longer exposures.