Stunning Cassini Image to Knock Your Socks Off

What a way to start the day! This image is one of the first things I saw online this morning. The moon Rhea hangs like a pendant against Saturn and its rings. Amazingly, this is a raw image straight from Cassini; it has not been calibrated or enhanced in any way. This is art in its purest form and evidence of the phenomenal and enchanting beauty of the Saturn system, as well as confirmation of what an amazing spacecraft Cassini is.

This image was taken on November 08, 2009 and received on Earth November 09, 2009. The camera was pointing toward Rhea at approximately 1,874,061 kilometers away.

Here’s the link to a higher resolution version.

Source page.

Hat tip to @mars_stu on Twitter

18 Replies to “Stunning Cassini Image to Knock Your Socks Off”

  1. It was said that Cassini images would surpass the fabulous Mars images. This tops any pix from space.

  2. I’d like to wake up and see this out of my bedroom window 🙂 Thanks for the image and link, Nancy.

  3. Thanks, J. Major, for rotating the picture for us. Although taking the time to do myself would have been worth it. 🙂

    And thank you, Nancy, for posting the picture. Cassini is, as ever, one of the greatest spacecraft ever.

  4. NASA should make 3 more Cassinis and send one each to all the large gaseous planets. Wouldn’t that be cost-effective, since it’s already been designed, built once, and thoroughly tested?

  5. Cipater not only do I agree with you but I woudl expand on that and say we should have versions of the Spirit and Oppy Rovers on just about every body in the solar system that would accommodate them.

  6. I wish most other spacecrafts can have raw images as good as Cassini does…Cheers to the engineers who built it…
    And thanks to Nancy for posting this…

  7. santafedog: right here:


    And EdR: cipater’s right….the rings are casting their shadows onto the surface (er…cloudtops) of Saturn, which appears bright white here due to overexposure. Those are the darker “curvy” rings above Rhea in the image above. They don’t continue below Rhea because Saturn’s edge ends behind the moon.

  8. theCase:

    It’s not really sideways. There is no “up” or “down” in space. Deep space exploration will be very disorienting for humans. I think getting used to seeing pictures like this might be a good idea.

  9. Great photo, but I’m curious about what geometry is hidden behind Rhea. “Above” the moon (as the picture is oriented) it looks like there is a wider and more curved ring to the right of a narrower ring, and that right-hand ring simply disappears–there’s not a sign of it “below” the moon. I admit that I’m not particularly good at 3-D visualizations, but I cannot figure out what happens to that more curvy ring. Anyone have any ideas?

  10. EdR: I believe that the “more curvy ring” is actually the shadow of the rings on Saturn.

    Silver Thread: Yeah, that too! If only the US government could get its priorities straight.

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