Amazing Saturn

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MacSA, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. MacSA macrumors 68000

    MacSA

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    #1
    Not since NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft saw our home as a pale blue dot from beyond the orbit of Neptune has Earth been imaged in color from the outer solar system. Now, Cassini casts powerful eyes on our home planet, and captures Earth, a pale blue orb -- and a faint suggestion of our moon -- among the glories of the Saturn system.

    Earth is captured here in a natural color portrait made possible by the passing of Saturn directly in front of the sun from Cassini's point of view. At the distance of Saturn's orbit, Earth is too narrowly separated from the sun for the spacecraft to safely point its cameras and other instruments toward its birthplace without protection from the sun's glare.

    The Earth-and-moon system is visible as a bright blue point on the right side of the image above center. Here, Cassini is looking down on the Atlantic Ocean and the western coast of north Africa. The phase angle of Earth, seen from Cassini is about 30 degrees.

    A magnified view of the image (see figure 1) taken through the clear filter (monochrome) shows the moon as a dim protrusion to the upper left of Earth. Seen from the outer solar system through Cassini's cameras, the entire expanse of direct human experience, so far, is nothing more than a few pixels across.


    [​IMG]


    Wispy fingers of bright, icy material reach tens of thousands of kilometers outward from Saturn's moon Enceladus into the E ring, while the moon's active south polar jets continue to fire away.

    This astonishing, never-before-seen structure is made visible with the sun almost directly behind the Saturn system from Cassini's vantage point. The sun-Enceladus-spacecraft angle here is 175 degrees, a viewing geometry in which structures made of tiny particles brighten substantially.

    These features are very likely the result of particles injected into Saturn orbit by the Enceladus geysers:


    [​IMG]

    A new diffuse ring, coincident with the orbits of Saturn's moon's Janus and Epimetheus, has been revealed in ultra-high phase angle views from Cassini. Ultra-high phase angle indicates the sun is behind the target.

    The new ring is visible in this image (marked by a cross in figure 1) outside the overexposed main rings and interior to the G and E rings. The G ring has a sharp inner boundary; the E ring is extremely broad and arcs across the upper and lower portions of the scene.

    While it is not unexpected that impact events on Janus and Epimetheus might kick particles off the moons' surfaces and inject them into Saturn orbit, it is, surprising that a well-defined structure exists at this location.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. thedude110 macrumors 68020

    thedude110

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    #2
    Thanks for the post and the pics.

    Good to feel your place early in the morning.
     
  3. jamesmcd macrumors 6502a

    jamesmcd

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  4. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #4
    Very nice pictures, thanks for sharing MacSA. :)
     
  5. EGT macrumors 68000

    EGT

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    #5
    Amazing pictures. Reminds me of this pic of Earth from Mars.
     
  6. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #6

    Another nice picture EGT. :)


    Makes the distance from Mars to Earth look quite spacious. :)
     
  7. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603

    2nyRiggz

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    #7
    Thats some great pictures...Saturn got itself another ring.



    Bless
     
  8. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #8
    That hussy!
     
  9. irbdavid macrumors regular

    irbdavid

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    #9
    Analysing Cassini data feels too much like my day job: analysing Cassini data

    :D
     
  10. displaced macrumors 65816

    displaced

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    #10
    This sort of stuff never ceases to amaze me. It's really a shame how things such as probes and space-shuttle launches are treated like mundane events by many...

    Thanks for posting these pictures!
     
  11. MacSA thread starter macrumors 68000

    MacSA

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    #11
    You can see ALL of Cassini's images as they're transmiitted here: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/raw/index.cfm
     
  12. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #12
    This is one of my favorites, so far. It looks like a painting.

    "Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The image was acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 18, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.3 million kilometers (800,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 137 degrees. Image scale is 76 kilometers (47 miles) per pixel."
     

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  13. MacSA thread starter macrumors 68000

    MacSA

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    #13
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2006-126
    Full Size Pictures: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA08329

    [​IMG]

    With giant Saturn hanging in the blackness and sheltering Cassini from the sun's blinding glare, the spacecraft viewed the rings as never before, revealing previously unknown faint rings and even glimpsing its home world.

    This marvelous panoramic view was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera over nearly three hours on Sept. 15, 2006. The full mosaic consists of three rows of nine wide-angle camera footprints; only a portion of the full mosaic is shown here. Color in the view was created by digitally compositing ultraviolet, infrared and clear filter images and was then adjusted to resemble natural color.

    The mosaic images were acquired as the spacecraft drifted in the darkness of Saturn's shadow for about 12 hours, allowing a multitude of unique observations of the microscopic particles that compose Saturn's faint rings.

    Ring structures containing these tiny particles brighten substantially at high phase angles: i.e., viewing angles where the sun is almost directly behind the objects being imaged.

     
  14. rockthecasbah macrumors 68020

    rockthecasbah

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    #16
    Awesome pics! It really puts you into perspective how far away Earth is from its neighboring planets :)
     
  15. sandman42 macrumors 6502a

    sandman42

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    #17
    Amazing photos, but I'm skeptical of this claim, though. The moon is 30 earth diameters away from the earth, so I doubt that little hazy blob in the halo of the earth image is the moon, unless that halo is enormous compared to the actual size of earth in the photo. Come to think of it though, that may be exactly what's going on. The moon is about 1/4 the diameter of the earth, so it would have a halo of its own, and it could make an image like that if the halos merged. That just means that the earth is much smaller still than it appears in the photo, making this claim all the more interesting:

     
  16. ®îçhå®? macrumors 68000

    ®îçhå®?

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    #18
    nice. ive always wanted to go into space to explore the galaxy
     
  17. MacSA thread starter macrumors 68000

    MacSA

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    #19
    Yes the Moon is that far away from Earth, but seen from Cassini and any other planet, it's position relative to Earth in the sky will change, sometimes it will appear far from the Earth other times very close due to its orbital motion around the Earth.
     
  18. sandman42 macrumors 6502a

    sandman42

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    #20
    Oh, right. I guess there's nothing saying that the moon was at a point in its orbit where it would appear furthest from the earth at the time. It could be more in line with the earth, as viewed from Saturn, and appear much closer. Do we know when that photo was taken? It would be interesting to see the actual positions with something like Celestia (http://www.shatters.net/celestia/).
     
  19. MacSA thread starter macrumors 68000

    MacSA

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    #21
    Try NASA's Solar System Simulator :http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/

    I think this view approximately matches the one with Earth in it, the images were taken over a period of several hours on Sept 15th this year.
    http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/w...=2&fovmul=-1&bfov=40&porbs=1&brite=1&showsc=1
    http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/w...v=2&fovmul=-1&bfov=2&porbs=1&brite=1&showsc=1
     
  20. sandman42 macrumors 6502a

    sandman42

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    #22
    Here's the relative positions of the earth and moon as viewed from Saturn on 9/15/2006 -- agrees with the Cassini photo. Cool! It must be that the image halos of the earth and moon are very large relative to their actual size, especially when enlarged. Makes sense because they would actually appear very tiny from that distance otherwise, and probably wouldn't even be visible.
     

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  21. crap freakboy macrumors 6502a

    crap freakboy

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