Astronomy Picture of the Day

Saturn's Infrared Glow

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Saturn's Infrared Glow


Known for its bright ring
system and many moons, gas giant
Saturn looks strange and unfamiliar in this false-color
view from the Cassini spacecraft.

In fact,
in this
Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer
mosaic the famous rings
are almost invisible, seen edge-on cutting across
picture center.

The most striking contrast in the image is
along the terminator or boundary between night and day.

To the right (day side) blue-green hues
are visible sunlight reflected from Saturn's cloud tops.

But on the left (night side) in the absence of sunlight,
the lantern-like
glow of infrared radiation from the
planet's warm interior silhouettes features at
Saturn's deeper cloud levels.

APOD presents: Astronomy Pictures of the Year for 2007

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