A New View of Saturn and Earth

NASA has released a spectacular new panoramic mosaic from the Cassini mission that shows Saturn in natural colour. The image includes Saturn with it’s moons and rings, as well as the Earth, Venus and Mars.

The image is also in natural colour. If human explorers were to travel to the Saturn system in the future, this is the view they would see with their own eyes.

With both Cassini’s wide-angle and narrow-angle cameras aimed at Saturn, Cassini was able to capture 323 images in just over four hours. This final mosaic uses 141 of those wide-angle images. Images taken using the red, green and blue spectral filters of the wide-angle camera were combined and mosaicked together to create this natural-color view (annotated version). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The photo comes from 141 wide-angle images captured by Cassini in July when the spacecraft was traveling through Saturn’s shadow. With the giant planet blocking out the light of the Sun, Cassini turned it’s cameras inward toward the centre of the Solar System. The image covers roughly 652,000 kilometres in width.

With both Cassini’s wide-angle and narrow-angle cameras aimed at Saturn, Cassini was able to capture 323 images in just over four hours. This final mosaic uses 141 of those wide-angle images. Images taken using the red, green and blue spectral filters of the wide-angle camera were combined and mosaicked together to create this natural-color view. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Studying the Saturn system is important for astrobiologists because a number of the giant planet’s moons are important target for astrobiological study. Studying moons like Titan and Enceladus could help scientists understand the potential for life on moons around giant planets.