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February 11, 2005

Looking down at Saturn

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The picture above was taken last December 14 from the orbiting Cassini spacecraft, at a distance of 446,900 miles (about twice the distance of the earth from the moon).

It show not the rings of Saturn, as you might think at first glance (I did) but, rather, the planet's northern hemisphere, in its natural blue colors.

Oh, to be orbiting the planet myself aboard a Virgin Galactic spaceship, and see it with my very own eyes.

Maybe someday.

More about the photo here.

This post ended with the sentence above until about 10:04 a.m. ET (four minutes ago).

That's when I happened on an even more breathtaking photo (below) from Cassini.

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Once again we see Saturn's northern latitudes in true color.

The dark lines, as in the first picture, are shadows cast by the planet's rings.

At the bottom of the photo is Saturn's moon Mimas (247 miles across).

Craters give the icy body a dimpled appearance.

More on this picture, taken on January 18, 2005 from a distance of 870,000 miles from Saturn, here.

February 11, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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