Saturn in the Spring

Cassini's portrait of Saturn
Cassini's portrait of Saturn

The Cassini Imaging Team has released this image, a stunning portrait of Saturn made from 75 separate wide-angle exposures taken during the ringed planet’s spring equinox on August 12, 2009.

The specific angle of sunlight during the equinox makes the shadow of Saturn’s expansive rings appear as a pencil-thin line across the cloudtops at the planet’s equator.

Right to left, the moons Janus, Epimetheus, Pandora and Atlas are visible here, brightened for visibility. (In fact, a the whole image has undergone a lot of digital enhancement for visibility…the different exposures needed to photograph the entire planet like this require such post-processing.)

Don’t just look at the small version above either… have to click on it and enlarge it to really appreciate its beauty. 🙂

View the official image release here.

Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

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