FromQuarkstoQuasars

Cassini Captures the Earth-Moon System

Jaime TrosperJuly 7th 2013

59441_487306638022417_1731089756_nThis is the Earth-Moon system as seen from Cassini when it imaged our region of space yesterday. This brilliant image is only the third image of Earth that has ever been taken from the outer solar system. The first such image was captured in the famous “Pale Blue Dot” picture from Voyager 1 in 1990 from 4-billion miles away while the second was captured by Cassini back in 2006 from a distance of 926-million miles.

 

Yesterday, Cassini was able to take a third picture of our lonely planet, this time from a distance of 898-million miles. As Carl Sagan once eloquently said, “Consider that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.” With an image so recent, you, and everyone you know, is somewhere on that dot.

 

Altogether, Earth is about the size of a pixel as seen from Cassini’s vantage point. In case you were wondering, the side of the planet with the Americas and part of the Atlantic is the side facing Cassini in this picture. Even though Cassini took the pictures yesterday, we’ll have to exercise some patience before we can see it. NASA estimates the newly captured Saturn mosaic won’t be complete for “several weeks.”

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