Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

270,760 subscribers and counting ...

Earth and moon between Saturn’s rings

Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn obtained this new image April 12. The craft was 870 million miles (1.4 billion km) from Earth.

View larger to see the moon. | This view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows planet Earth as a point of light between the icy rings of Saturn. The moon is there, too, to the left of Earth. Image via NASA JPL.

Enjoy science and the beauty of the cosmos? Please donate to help EarthSky keep going.

Want PayPal or to send a check to EarthSky? Click here.

NASA released this new image from its Cassini spacecraft on April 20, 2017, as Cassini maneuvers into position for its final sweep past the large moon Titan and then its Grand Finale passes between the body of Saturn and inner part of Saturn’s rings. Cassini captured the new image, which shows the Earth and moon as a points of light between Saturn’s rings, on April 12, when the craft was 870 million miles (1.4 billion km) away from Earth. NASA said:

Although far too small to be visible in the image, the part of Earth facing Cassini at the time was the southern Atlantic Ocean.

You can see the moon better in the cropped, zoomed-in version of the image below:

Earth on the right, moon on the left in this cropped, zoomed-in version of the image above, via NASA JPL.

NASA added:

The rings visible here are the A ring (at top) with the Keeler and Encke gaps visible, and the F ring (at bottom). During this observation Cassini was looking toward the backlit rings, making a mosaic of multiple images, with the sun blocked by the disk of Saturn.

Seen from Saturn, Earth and the other inner solar system planets are all close to the sun, and are easily captured in such images, although these opportunities have been somewhat rare during the mission. The F ring appears especially bright in this viewing geometry.

Enjoy science and the beauty of the cosmos? Please donate to help EarthSky keep going.

Want PayPal or to send a check to EarthSky? Click here.

Bottom line: Earth and moon are seen between the rings of Saturn in a new image from Cassini, obtained on April 12, 2017.

Read more about Cassini’s Grand Finale

Deborah Byrd

MORE ARTICLES