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Saturn Spring

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posted by alias NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center on Tuesday 23rd of March 2021 03:00:02 PM

Spring doesn't just hapen on Earth. Spring also happens on some of our neighboring planets in the solar system. Of the countless equinoxes Saturn has seen since the birth of the solar system, this one, captured here in a mosaic of light and dark, is the first witnessed up close by an emissary from Earth … none other than our faithful robotic explorer, Cassini in this image from 2009. Seen from our planet, the view of Saturn's rings during equinox is extremely foreshortened and limited. But in orbit around Saturn, Cassini had no such problems. From 20 degrees above the ring plane, Cassini's wide angle camera shot 75 exposures in succession for this mosaic showing Saturn, its rings, and a few of its moons a day and a half after exact Saturn equinox, when the sun's disk was exactly overhead at the planet's equator. At equinox, the shadows of the planet's expansive rings are compressed into a single, narrow band cast onto the planet as seen in this mosaic. At this time so close to equinox, illumination of the rings by sunlight reflected off the planet vastly dominates any meager sunlight falling on the rings. Hence, the half of the rings on the left illuminated by planetshine is, before processing, much brighter than the half of the rings on the right. On the right, it is only the vertically extended parts of the rings that catch any substantial sunlight. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute #NASA #Cassini #JPL #JetPropulsionLaboratory #NASAMarshall #SolarSystemandBeyond #space #astronomy #Saturn #astronomy #planet Read More Read more about Cassini NASA Media Usage Guidelines

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  • Published 12.07.22
  • Resolution 1024x545
  • Image type jpg
  • File Size 23398 byte.

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