The Hubble Space Telescope captured this composite image of Saturn on June 6, 2018, shortly before the ringed planet reached its opposition for this year. In other words, it caught Saturn around the time Earth and Saturn were closest for 2018. The European Space Agency (ESA), which released this image on September 10, said:
The image shows Saturn with six of its 62 known moons. From left to right, the moons visible in this image are Dione, Enceladus, Tethys, Janus, Epimetheus, and Mimas. The moons seen here are all icy and cratered. Enceladus is considered a candidate for the existence of primitive life because it is outgassing water vapor from a subsurface ocean. Based on data from the Cassini mission to Saturn, scientists hypothesize that a small, wayward moon like one of these disintegrated 200 million years ago to form Saturn’s ring system.
The image is a composite because the moons move during the Saturn exposures, and individual frames must be realigned to make a color portrait.
Bottom line: Hubble Space Telescope composite image of Saturn, acquired June 6, 2018.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.