Astronomy Picture of the Day

Saturn in Blue and Gold

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#86352 by @ 04.05.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Saturn in Blue and Gold

Why is Saturn partly blue?

above picture
of Saturn approximates what a
would see if hovering close to the giant ringed world.

The above picture
was taken in mid-March by the robot
Cassini spacecraft now orbiting

Here Saturn's majestic rings appear directly only as a thin vertical line.

The rings show their complex structure in the dark shadows they create on the image left.

Saturn's fountain moon Enceladus,
only about 500 kilometers across, is seen as the bump in the plane of the rings.

The northern hemisphere of
Saturn can appear partly blue for the same reason that
Earth's skies can appear blue -- molecules in the cloudless portions
of both planet's atmospheres are better at scattering blue light than red.

When looking deep into
Saturn's clouds, however, the natural
gold hue of Saturn's clouds becomes dominant.

It is not known why southern Saturn does not show the same blue hue --
one hypothesis holds that clouds are higher there.

It is also
not known why Saturn's
clouds are colored gold.

Credit & Copyright
#86362 by @ 04.05.2006 06:27 - nach oben -
#86447 by @ 05.05.2006 01:11 - nach oben -
farbton oder so