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The Night Side of Saturn

This image was selected as the Astronomy Picture of the Day last weekend. It was taken by the Cassini probe in 2006 from the shadow of Saturn.

First, the night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by light reflected from its own majestic ring system. Next, the rings themselves appear dark when silhouetted against Saturn, but quite bright when viewed away from Saturn, slightly scattering sunlight, in this exaggerated color image. Saturn’s rings light up so much that new rings were discovered, although they are hard to see in the image. Seen in spectacular detail, however, is Saturn’s E ring, the ring created by the newly discovered ice-fountains of the moon Enceladus and the outermost ring visible above. Far in the distance, at the left, just above the bright main rings, is the almost ignorable pale blue dot of Earth.

You should take a look at the larger version at NASA. Link -via Laughing Squid

(Image credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA)

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Date
September 8th, 2011

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Stranger to the World

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