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The Dark Side of Saturn

This time of year we’re surrounded by holiday decorations all a glow, but it’s hard to hold a candle to the display put on by Saturn back-lit by the Sun.

Courtesy of NASA and the Cassini spacecraft, we’re treated to an absolutely stunning view of Saturn’s rings illuminated by the Sun. From the press release:

[D]uring its 174th orbit around the gas giant, Cassini was deliberately positioned within Saturn’s shadow, a perfect location from which to look in the direction of the sun and take a backlit view of the rings and the dark side of the planet. Looking back towards the sun is a geometry referred to by planetary scientists as “high solar phase;” near the center of your target’s shadow is the highest phase possible. This is a very scientifically advantageous and coveted viewing position, as it can reveal details about both the rings and atmosphere that cannot be seen in lower solar phase.

Hit up the link below for more information about the photo and a high-resolution copy.

From Cassini for the Holidays: A Splendor Seldom Seen [NASA]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/20/12

Comments (2)

  1. Keith

    TThis is the most beautiful view of Saturn, of all the pics I’ve gotten to see.

    But of course, Saturn is beautiful, even on a bad ring day. : )

  2. flapjack

    Customary planetary body joke: I wonder what the dark side of Uranus looks like?

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