install theme

NASA Releases Images of Earth by Distant Spacecraft [Click images to enlarge & read descriptions - Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.]

Color and black-and-white images of Earth taken by two NASA interplanetary spacecraft on July 19 show our planet and its moon as bright beacons from millions of miles away in space. 

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured the color images of Earth and the moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) away. MESSENGER, the first probe to orbit Mercury, took a black-and-white image from a distance of 61 million miles (98 million kilometers) as part of a campaign to search for natural satellites of the planet. 

In the Cassini images Earth and the moon appear as mere dots — Earth a pale blue and the moon a stark white, visible between Saturn’s rings. It was the first time Cassini’s highest-resolution camera captured Earth and its moon as two distinct objects. 

It also marked the first time people on Earth had advance notice their planet’s portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances. NASA invited the public to celebrate by finding Saturn in their part of the sky, waving at the ringed planet and sharing pictures over the Internet. More than 20,000 people around the world participated. 

"We can’t see individual continents or people in this portrait of Earth, but this pale blue dot is a succinct summary of who we were on July 19," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Cassini’s picture reminds us how tiny our home planet is in the vastness of space, and also testifies to the ingenuity of the citizens of this tiny planet to send a robotic spacecraft so far away from home to study Saturn and take a look-back photo of Earth." 

Pictures of Earth from the outer solar system are rare because from that distance, Earth appears very close to our sun. A camera’s sensitive detectors can be damaged by looking directly at the sun, just as a human being can damage his or her retina by doing the same. Cassini was able to take this image because the sun had temporarily moved behind Saturn from the spacecraft’s point of view and most of the light was blocked. 

A wide-angle image of Earth will become part of a multi-image picture, or mosaic, of Saturn’s rings, which scientists are assembling. This image is not expected to be available for several weeks because of the time-consuming challenges involved in blending images taken in changing geometry and at vastly different light levels, with faint and extraordinarily bright targets side by side. 

Read more here.

885 notes
comments powered by Disqus

885 notes


, #Earth #Saturn #Cassini #astrophotography #Messenger #JPL #NASA #astronomy #astronomyfacts #science
  1. adam430rk reblogged this from thisweekinscience
  2. rasputinayuta reblogged this from heythereuniverse
  3. littlestorybook reblogged this from lesbianjukeboxmusical
  4. lesbianjukeboxmusical reblogged this from beesarealiens
  5. fariquoesentient reblogged this from thedemon-hauntedworld
  6. mcpunnypants reblogged this from thescienceofreality
  7. josefmcgrath reblogged this from sean-clancy
  8. satanikslut reblogged this from sean-clancy and added:
    Pale Blue Dot
  9. sean-clancy reblogged this from thescienceofreality
  10. gladosuniverse reblogged this from heythereuniverse
  11. fistfulofawesome reblogged this from mellomymind
  12. crystallinedusk reblogged this from beesarealiens
  13. beesarealiens reblogged this from carrizi
  14. carrizi reblogged this from chriscinephile
  15. wells-hg reblogged this from heythereuniverse
  16. 4rd3n7 reblogged this from poplockgrimlock
  17. chriscinephile reblogged this from poplockgrimlock
  18. poplockgrimlock reblogged this from raeathnos
  19. cosmiczzi reblogged this from heythereuniverse
  20. mountainshadow12 reblogged this from dark-lumen
  21. freesiafaces reblogged this from sidfromabove1975
  22. calculatusinfinitum reblogged this from facetednerd
  23. sisterbeatrice reblogged this from facetednerd
  24. facetednerd reblogged this from sidfromabove1975
  25. sidfromabove1975 reblogged this from bouncingdodecahedrons
  26. sadface-emoticon reblogged this from heythereuniverse
  27. faconti reblogged this from thescienceofreality and added:
    - A Terra vista de longe -
  28. left-at-interamna reblogged this from bouncingdodecahedrons
^