Astronomy Picture of the Day



Neon Saturn

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zorg.ch
#102170 by @ 28.06.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Neon Saturn


Explanation:
If seen in the right light, Saturn glows like a neon sign.

Although Saturn has comparatively little of the
element neon, a
composite image
false-colored in three bands of
infrared light highlights features of the giant ringed planet like a
glowing sign.

At the most blue band of the infrared light featured, false-colored blue in the
above image,
Saturn itself appears dark but
Saturn's thin rings brightly reflect light from our Sun.

Conversely,
Saturn's B ring
is so thick that little reflected light makes it through, creating a dark band between
Saturn's A and C rings.

At the most red band of the infrared, false-colored red above,
Saturn emits a surprisingly detailed
thermal glow,
indicating planet-wide bands, huge hurricane-like storms, and a
strange hexagon-shaped cloud system around the
North Pole.

In the middle infrared band, false-colored green,
the sunlit side of Saturn's atmosphere reflects brightly.

The above image
was obtained in late February by the
robotic
Cassini spacecraft
orbiting about 1.6 million kilometers out from Saturn.




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