Astronomy Picture of the Day

Crescent Saturn

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#104303 by @ 24.10.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Crescent Saturn


Saturn never shows a crescent phase -- from Earth.

But when viewed from beyond, the
majestic giant planet
can show an unfamiliar diminutive sliver.

This image of crescent Saturn in natural color was
taken by the robotic
in May.

The image captures
majestic rings
from the side of the ring plane opposite
the Sun -- the unilluminated side -- another
vista not visible from Earth.

Pictured are many of Saturn's photogenic wonders, including the
subtle colors of
cloud bands, the complex
shadows of the rings on the planet,
the shadow of the planet
on the rings, and the moons
Mimas (2 o'clock),
Janus (4 o'clock), and
Pandora (8 o'clock).

As Saturn moves towards
equinox in 2009,
the ring shadows are becoming smaller and moving toward the equator.

During equinox, the rings will be
nearly invisible
from Earth and project only an extremely
thin shadow line onto the planet.

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