Beautiful Saturn

This mouth-watering image of Saturn was captured by the Cassini spacecraft at a distance of 750,000 miles. That's enough to get it all in the frame. Actually, this is a composite of pictures taken over a four-hour period in July. It's taken this long to get the image stitched together just right. But you really must look at it full-size. What makes this image so stunning? One reason is because the planet is between Cassini and the sun, which gives it a marvelous backlit effect. Dr. Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy has more details and some alternate views, including the location of Earth in this picture.


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People seem to have no problem with using the word "photo" for mosaic panoramas taken on Earth, even with with contrast and brightness changes. And the images for the mosaic are all from a couple hour period, so it is not like some weird time-lapse effect to combine them. But if you wanted raw Cassini photos, you can easily get some here.
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