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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:56 PM

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, 6457 views

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Gorgeous New Backlit View of Saturn (Original post)
n2doc Dec 2012 OP
BlueToTheBone Dec 2012 #1
mnhtnbb Dec 2012 #2
benld74 Dec 2012 #3
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2012 #4
Martin Eden Dec 2012 #5
littlemissmartypants Dec 2012 #6
StarLeft Dec 2012 #7
Turborama Dec 2012 #8
Markus Che Dec 2012 #9
n2doc Dec 2012 #11
Rhiannon12866 Dec 2012 #10
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2012 #12
Posteritatis Dec 2012 #15
Little Star Dec 2012 #13
calimary Dec 2012 #14

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 03:26 PM

1. Beauty. Thanks.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 08:36 PM

2. VERY cool. Thanks for posting!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 09:08 PM

3. whoa! cool, thanks

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 09:13 PM

4. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

damn, that is beautiful.

I always feel awed at knowing we are made of star stuff.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:31 PM

5. I'd like that in a nice frame for the wall, please!

Thanks for the pic!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 11:18 PM

6. WHOA! n/t

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:21 AM

7. What a Nice Christmas Present. Thx.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:49 AM

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

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/multimedia/pia14934.html

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 09:18 PM

9. Great images always

I'm new to posting here. I've always enjoyed the great natural world images posted at this site. Much Appreciated.

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Response to Markus Che (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:15 AM

11. Welcome!

DU is a great resource for many things, not just Political ones.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 12:28 AM

10. K&R! Wow! Spectacular photo!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:13 PM

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.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:54 PM

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.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:52 PM

13. Holy crap that's beautiful. k&r

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:46 PM

14. OOOOOOO YEAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

Whoever You are, Dear God, You do FABULOUS work!

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