Astronomy Picture of the Day



Saturn's Infrared Glow

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#95139 by @ 13.10.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Saturn's Infrared Glow


Explanation:

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
(VIMS)
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.

The thermal
infrared glow
is also apparent in the broad bands
of ring shadows
draped across the northern hemisphere
of Saturn.




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