In case you’ve been living on Mars, in a cave, with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears (like Sideshow Bob’s brother Cecil), you’ve probably seen the following photo – or one very similar. It’s Saturn, from the dark side looking back towards the sun and inner solar system. NASA has released a series of photos taken from the Cassini probe, which is currently giving Saturn a thorough going over.The colors are a bit muted in the photo, as it was altered to be more easily viewable on the internet. The actual photo is 5MB, and 9000×35000 pixels – which is about 100 times larger than my blog space. To view the pic in all it’s gorgeousness go HERE.
But what’s even more astounding is all the little extra things in this photo. Not only does the Sun help to backlight Saturn’s brilliant system of rings, but being in the shadow also allowed Cassini to see a number of Saturn’s satellites, and even a sneak peak at ourselves and our closest neighbors.
Again, it’s hard to make out in a tiny picture, so click the above picture and you’ll be able to see it more clearly.
Wave to yourself. That picture was taken from roughly 900 million miles away. 900 million.
The beauty of our solar system is astounding.
Remember though, space is infinite, and Earth is a tiny spec. Need a little more perspective? Ok. Here are a few more close up photos from Cassini of Earth from Saturn.
This one is a close-up of the section containing Earth from the above photos.
Yup. That’s you.
And just for fun, here is a picture of the Earth and our Moon taken from the Messenger spacecraft which is currently orbiting and studying Mercury. It looks like we’re shining like a star but it’s just the reflection of the sunlight. This was taken from about 60 million miles away, looking from near the center of the solar system outward.
All images courtesy of NASA/JPL