Have you ever heard how the location of a photograph can automatically give you the WOW factor? Well in Cassini’s case, the far flung spacecraft that’s been exploring Saturn for the best part of a decade has just that. It is absolutely relentless at sending back images home across 80 minutes of Space. Take a look at this universally stunning abstract NASA released on June 22nd.
Although the image speaks for itself, NASA as usual gives some great scientific details about the supposed conjunction occurring:
The three moons shown here — Titan (3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across), Mimas (246 miles or 396 kilometers across), and Rhea (949 miles or 1,527 kilometers across) — show marked contrasts. Titan, the largest moon in this image, appears fuzzy because we only see its cloud layers. And because Titan’s atmosphere refracts light around the moon, its crescent “wraps” just a little further around the moon than it would on an airless body. Rhea (upper left) appears rough because its icy surface is heavily cratered. And a close inspection of Mimas (center bottom), though difficult to see at this scale, shows surface irregularities due to its own violent history.
Cassini is no stranger to mixing science and art. Four years ago Chris Abbas compiled all of the travelling photographic Spacecraft into a masterful time lapse. It’s certainly worth watching again.