The Saturn System: A Feast for the Eyes

The Cassini team released some incredible images earlier this week of the Saturn system during equinox, and followed up with this beauty of a crescent moon Rhea beneath the rings of Saturn. NASA has also put together a multimedia presentation of recent pictures of Saturn, set to music, and it is stunning. Run, don’t walk and click here to watch. (Flash required)

With these great images, it is no wonder that the leader of the Cassini imaging team, Carolyn Porco has been presented with an award for her work, the Lennart Nilsson Award for photography for capturing “worlds that are otherwise hidden from human sight.” The award committee’s citation reads:

“Carolyn Porco combines the finest techniques of planetary exploration and scientific research with aesthetic finesse and educational talent. While her images, which depict the heavenly bodies of the Saturn system with unique precision, serve as tools for the world’s leading experts, they also reveal the beauty of the universe in a manner that is an inspiration to one and all.”

Congratulations Dr. Porco!

Here’s some info about the image above:

Rhea (1528 kilometers, 949 miles across) is near the middle of the bottom of the image. This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from about 4 degrees above the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 24, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.6 million kilometers (994,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 137 degrees. Image scale is 95 kilometers (59 miles) per pixel.

For more images see the CICLOPS (Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations) website.