Saturn
March 2, 2007 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Saturn is gorgeous. And humans have never seen it from this angle before. (Full sized version)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste (41 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Those pictures were just released today.

Here's the JPL home page for the project.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:41 AM on March 2, 2007


That really is awe-inspiring. But it looks so fake. I can't imagine a planet looking like that.
posted by dios at 9:43 AM on March 2, 2007


Agreed that it doesn't look real, it looks like graphic-novel Saturn.

I kinda wish our planet had rings. So jealous.
posted by contessa at 9:50 AM on March 2, 2007


It looks fake, to me, because the planet is in front of all of the rings — the rings orbit the planet so unless you are looking at it from directly "above" you should see the rings overlapping the planet somewhere. Presumably you don't see that here because it's a composite, taken over 2.5 hours.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 9:50 AM on March 2, 2007


it looks like the planet is in front of the rings mostly because the sunlit side is so overexposed; it blew out the details of the rings.
posted by sxtxixtxcxh at 9:54 AM on March 2, 2007


yeah, the overexposed part is a bit of a downer, but rest of it is pretty cool.
posted by malaprohibita at 9:56 AM on March 2, 2007


I don't think the planet is in front of all the rings; I think it's just the relative brightness of the main body, and the sparseness of that inner area of ring at the bottom of the photo, completely washing out the visibility of those rings. Bad dynamic range control, basically.
posted by cortex at 9:56 AM on March 2, 2007


Or what they said.
posted by cortex at 9:56 AM on March 2, 2007


Why did I just read that as, "Satan is gorgeous."
posted by afx114 at 10:02 AM on March 2, 2007


afx114: you're not the only one who misread that. The old books did say Lucifer was quite beautiful...
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 AM on March 2, 2007


Very cool. They're kinda the inverse of the pictures I linked to a few months ago.
posted by cerebus19 at 10:07 AM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, that makes sense, cortex and sxtxixtxcxh.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 10:08 AM on March 2, 2007


It's a pretty crappy picture. There are better pictures of Saturn
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:08 AM on March 2, 2007


dios---
I think the planet had some work done over Spring Break.
posted by Dizzy at 10:11 AM on March 2, 2007


Saturn, the Bling planet.

Bettah watch out, Pluto's gonna bust a cap in yo' ass
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:15 AM on March 2, 2007


Aren't the rings translucent? (As in, composed of small particles, not filling the entire space, and therefore letting through light, not as in "made of one piece that's of some translucent material".) We're used to seeing them from nearly edge-on, but when they're "above" the planet, they show clearly how much light they let through. It's like if you've always seen a glass plate from edge-on, you might think it's always opaque and greenish, but when you see it from above, suddenly you realize that the greenish color is barely there and that it's mostly just transparent.
posted by jiawen at 10:23 AM on March 2, 2007


Oh, and: beautiful stuff. Thanks, Stephen.
posted by jiawen at 10:24 AM on March 2, 2007


Sure, it looks pretty, but there's no there there. All flash, no substance. And once you crack the surface? Nothing but a bunch of hot air.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:27 AM on March 2, 2007


I love these sorts of pictures. When I first got access to the internet sometime in the early nineties, the first thing I did was download a picture of Saturn. It took days.
posted by inconsequentialist at 10:40 AM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The old books did say Lucifer was quite beautiful...

"And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light."


cool post stephen - it does look too sci fi though.
posted by vronsky at 10:41 AM on March 2, 2007


inconsequentialist, that is completely awesome, in a sad sort of way.
posted by contessa at 10:44 AM on March 2, 2007


I can't tell for sure because the picture is taking forever to load in my browser but are these the same pictures that are linked to in this comment from a post made earlier today?
posted by inconsequentialist at 10:47 AM on March 2, 2007


Gorgeous—thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 10:53 AM on March 2, 2007


Did you know that scientists discovered rings around Uranus?

*giggles uncontrolably*
posted by Hlewagast at 10:56 AM on March 2, 2007


Another source with all of today's released pictures.

"This life-like movie sequence captures Saturn's rings during a ringplane crossing -- which Cassini makes twice per orbit -- from the spacecraft’s point of view."
posted by ericb at 11:12 AM on March 2, 2007


I can't tell for sure because the picture is taking forever to load in my browser but are these the same pictures that are linked to in this comment from a post made earlier today?

On preview -- yes.
posted by ericb at 11:13 AM on March 2, 2007


BTW -- from the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations website (to which I linked above):
"Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Feb. 3, 2007 at a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometers (700,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 60 kilometers (38 miles) per pixel."
posted by ericb at 11:39 AM on March 2, 2007


Off-topic, but astronomy related ...

If skies are clear, be sure to check out tomorrow evening's red moon rise during the total lunar eclipse.
posted by ericb at 11:45 AM on March 2, 2007


I saw the red moon once. It was my birthday, I was probably, geez I dunno... 10.. 12... I had no idea what it was and it freaked me out so bad. I had read Revelations no more than 2 months before hand, it was one of my first memories of true fear.... too bad I didn't realize then how beautiful and normal it was.
posted by ForeverDcember at 12:31 PM on March 2, 2007


does anyone know of any photos of saturn which are just normal exposure photos?

non composite, natural colour, normal exposure, etc.

sorta like how there are normal photos of earth?

I wanna know what it would look like if I were actually floating near saturn and looking at it.
posted by spacediver at 12:36 PM on March 2, 2007


The problem is defining "normal exposure". Saturn is far enough out so that the light of the sun is drastically reduced in intensity.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:57 PM on March 2, 2007


Yeah, but Venus has a nicer ass.

(nifty)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:58 PM on March 2, 2007


I wanna know what it would look like if I were actually floating near saturn and looking at it

Always good to plan ahead.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:59 PM on March 2, 2007


For really cool fake images of all our favorite planets, try Celestia. Previously mentioned.
posted by elendil71 at 1:11 PM on March 2, 2007


The problem is defining "normal exposure". Saturn is far enough out so that the light of the sun is drastically reduced in intensity.

Interesting - hadn't considered this.
posted by spacediver at 1:18 PM on March 2, 2007


It looks art deco, manufactured.
posted by Cranberry at 1:32 PM on March 2, 2007


Cassini rocks. Just absolutely great.

So nice to see my government, on the rare occasion, do something good and awe-inspiring.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:40 PM on March 2, 2007


Compare the Cassini photo to this View of SATURN from CASSINI, 2007 Feb 25 12:00:00 UTC ['Extra Brightness' is on, and off in this image] rendered by NASA-JPL's Solar System Simulator.
posted by cenoxo at 2:46 PM on March 2, 2007


The problem is defining "normal exposure". Saturn is far enough out so that the light of the sun is drastically reduced in intensity.

Whatever, just use a flash.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:10 PM on March 2, 2007


If skies are clear, be sure to check out tomorrow evening's red moon rise during the total lunar eclipse.

What a great week for astronomy.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:28 PM on March 2, 2007


Got your realistic planet photos right here.
posted by flabdablet at 6:47 AM on March 3, 2007


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