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Earth and moon between Saturn's rings

April 21, 2017 11:24 AM
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Earth and moon between Saturn's rings

View larger to see the moon. | This view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows planet Earth as a point of light between the icy rings of Saturn. The moon is there, too, to the left of Earth. Image via NASA JPL.

Although far too small to be visible in the image, the part of Earth facing Cassini at the time was the southern Atlantic Ocean.

Earth on the right, moon on the left in this cropped, zoomed-in version of the image above, via NASA JPL.

The rings visible here are the A ring (at top) with the Keeler and Encke gaps visible, and the F ring (at bottom). During this observation Cassini was looking toward the backlit rings, making a mosaic of multiple images, with the sun blocked by the disk of Saturn.

Seen from Saturn, Earth and the other inner solar system planets are all close to the sun, and are easily captured in such images, although these opportunities have been somewhat rare during the mission. The F ring appears especially bright in this viewing geometry.

Bottom line: Earth and moon are seen between the rings of Saturn in a new image from Cassini, obtained on April 12, 2017.


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