July 19, 2010 - Depth Perception
Depth Perception This image by the Cassini spacecraft could easily pass for minimalist abstract art, but the simple lines and curves of the composition belie an elegance grounded in the complex. Saturn’s icy moon Rhea, its second largest with a diameter of 949 miles, reveals a variety of impact features on its dramatically illuminated surface. The bold horizontal line is a nearly edge-on view of Saturn’s magnificent ring system, reduced to a plane that seems ready to disappear. The rings begin over 200,000 miles behind Rhea and reach 40,000 miles back toward the planet. The canvas for this masterpiece is the cream-colored cloud tops of majestic Saturn itself, more than 300,000 miles beneath Rhea. This Saturn family portrait was taken by Cassini in 2007 when it was approximately 770,000 miles from Rhea.
Image credit: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute
July 19-25, 2010
Holidays - Sky Events - Space History
Jupiter appears stationary
Full Moon 9:37 PM ET