FromQuarkstoQuasars

Astronomy Picture of the Day: September 25, 2013 – Saturnian System

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

As usual, Cassini can do no wrong. This beautiful image of Titan, Pan, Pandora (not the same moon), Dione & Saturn’s rings clearly shows the dynamics between the moons in Saturn’s own “mini-solar system.” Thanks to Cassini’s position in Saturn’s rings, we’re given the opportunity to not only study their characteristics and orbital features, but to also understand the evolution of the (arguably) most beautiful planet in our solar system.

This image is a composite put together from false-colored images taken by Cassini, but it does represent what the objects would look like from our perspective if we were to be able to see them with our own two eyes.

Cassini captured the heart of the planet from approximately 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometer) away from Dione, back in 2011. It’s mind blowing to consider how large the moons appear to be (Titan is actually larger than Mercury) from over a million miles out, but the best part is that the image scale on the photo is equal to about 8 miles (13 kilometers) per PIXEL.

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