The Dark Side of Saturn

By Jason Fitzpatrick on December 20th, 2012

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 a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/20/12
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