Saturn's Cassini snaps images of Earth -- plus other great views of our planet

Saturn's Cassini snaps images of Earth -- plus other great views of our planet

Summary: NASA's Cassini spacecraft which has been orbiting and photographing the ringed planet since 2004 set it sights on Earth from 900 million miles away.

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TOPICS: Nasa / Space
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  • NASA's Cassini spacecraft, circling Saturn since 2004, pointed its cameras at Earth on July 19. Cassini  is 900 million miles from Earth, yet was able to capture images of both the Earth and the moon using its technology from the 1990s when it lifted off from Earth. Imagine what the images would look like if today's technology was available to it.

    Just taking the images was difficult. Normally from Saturn, Earth appears close to the sun and Cassini's photographic equipment could be damaged by looking at it. But Cassini had moved to a location where the ringed planet blocked out the sun so it was able to snap the portraits.

    Scientists will be working for weeks to assemble a wide-angle image of Earth that will become part of a mosaic of Saturn's rings.

    NASA had publicized this photo opportunity by asking people around the world to wave at Cassini while it was taking images of Earth.

    In this gallery, we'll show you a sample of how our planet looks from various locations around our solar system.

    Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
  • The July 19 images captured both the Earth and the moon from Saturn for the first time.

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Topic: Nasa / Space

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9 comments
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  • You Are Here

    No, that's not a stuck pixel, that's the planet Earth.
    ldo17
  • Today

    "Today, Earth is constantly monitored by thousands of satellites for both good and evil purposes." What are the eeeeeevil purposes and who is doing it? If we are talking about spying on military movements then what's the eeeeeevil in that? Without the spy in the sky we would probably be in a nuclear wasteland by now. Though I guess those gamer guys are probably a bit disappointed by that.
    jsargent
  • Great gallery.

    Well done! Particularly page 7. The Pale Blue Dot photo and Sagan's words together hit hard.
    GKSeifert
  • Just one book

    "We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations."

    - A. Einstein
    harvey_rabbit
  • Monkeys!

    Fred Hoyle (agnostic, British astrophysicist) on discovering the astonishing nuclear resonance coincidence that allows carbon to be formed in stars:

    “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”
    harvey_rabbit
    • Re: there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature

      So who created this "superintellect"? That must have taken a truly great intelligence indeed...
      ldo17
  • Image 8, how can it be?

    In image 8, the camera is near Mars, looking outward at a fully illuminated Jupiter.
    This means the sun is at my back, no?
    So, how could earth be in the image, also outward from Mars? Wouldn't earth be behind me, closer to the sun?
    CIO Mark
    • that's right

      You would also not be able to see Jupiter that big in a telescope together with the Earth. So, it's either an error, and it's rather J. with the two of its satellites? or the Earth's and Jupiter's images put together.
      eulampius
  • The Cassini earth shots

    I'm guessing those are not naked eye (unmagnified) views, given how far apart the Earth and Moon appear. Given that none of Saturn's moons are visible with the naked eye from Earth, it would be surprising if our moon were visible with the naked eye from Saturn.
    John L. Ries