A great post from Emily Lakdawalla over at the Planetary Society.
Just what is going on in that magnificent Cassini image of Saturn?
Posted By Emily Lakdawalla
2013/11/13 03:58 CST
It took months of work (and no wonder) but the wait was worth it: here is Cassini’s spectacular view of Saturn, captured on July 19, 2013, as Cassini passed through Saturn’s shadow.
NASA / JPL / SSI
In Saturn’s Shadow (The Day the Earth Smiled)
On July 19, 2013 Cassini passed into Saturn’s shadow and turned toward the Sun, capturing an image of the planet’s night side and the weirdly lit semi-transparent rings. Cassini also captured seven of the moons and three planets. This was 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.
This photo is amazing, but also confusing. I thought I would try to explain some of the cool stuff you can see with a little video demonstration:
It’s also interesting to compare the photo to a similar one, taken in 2006, with the rings tilted the other way.
NASA / JPL / SSI
In Saturn’s Shadow (2006)
With giant Saturn hanging in the blackness and sheltering Cassini from the sun’s blinding glare, the spacecraft viewed the rings as never before, revealing previously unknown faint rings and even glimpsing its home world. This marvelous panoramic view was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera over nearly three hours. The full mosaic consists of three rows of nine wide-angle camera footprints; only a portion of the full mosaic is shown here. Color in the view was created by digitally compositing ultraviolet, infrared and clear filter images and was then adjusted to resemble natural color.