Cassini

Cassini captures a shadowy Saturn

saturnCredit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Here’s another one of those stunning planetary images that really stops you in your tracks. It’s just been released by the Cassini mission imaging team and shows Saturn (and a few of its moons) as seen by the Cassini spacecraft, just last month. The eery illumination of the rings is due to the very low angle at which sunlight is striking them, combined with sunlight reflected off Saturn’s cloud tops.

Make sure you click the image above to see a much bigger version, to explore it in all its glorious detail, including the subtle pastel coloured bands of Saturn’s upper atmosphere. To give you a sense of scale, Saturn’s diameter (at its equator) is around 120,500 km. So you could fit just over 9 Earths across its disc. For more information on the image and what it shows see the Cassini website here.