Portrait Earth: Wave at Saturn and Cassini July 19

July 16, 2013

Smile and say, "Cosmic cheese!" From 898 million miles away, NASA's Cassini-Huygens spacecraft will snap a portrait of Earth July 19 from between Saturn's rings as North America and the Atlantic Ocean repose on the sunny side of Earth.

"It's a unique opportunity to see our home planet in the context of its vast surroundings and to contemplate our place in the universe," said Matt Tiscareno, a senior research associate with Cornell's Center for Radiophysics and Space Research and a Cassini science team member.

Cornell and the Ithaca Sciencenter invite the public for this free interplanetary portrait shoot and to hear presentations July 19 from Cornell astronomers. The lectures start at 3:30 p.m. at the Sciencenter, 601 First St. After the talks, participants can wave at the Cassini camera beginning at 5:27 p.m., the moment Cassini first frames Earth in Saturn's rings. The cosmic photography lasts about 15 minutes.

Unlike two previous Cassini eclipse mosaics of the Saturn system – one in 2006, which captured Earth, and another in 2012 – the July 19 image will be the first to capture the Earth in natural color, as human eyes on Saturn would see it. It also will be the first to capture Earth and its moon with Cassini's highest-resolution camera.

The images serve a scientific purpose: "We're particularly interested in seeing the effects of Saturn's magnetic field and solar and the structures within Saturn's dusty E ring, which is generated by Saturn's moon Enceladus," said Matt Hedman, Cornell astronomy research associate and a Cassini science team member.

The images will continue a NASA legacy of space-based images of Earth, including the 1968 "Earthrise" image taken by the Apollo 8 moon mission from about 240,000 miles away and the 1990 "Pale Blue Dot" image taken by Voyager 1 from about 4 billion miles away.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. Launched in 1997, Cassini entered Saturn orbit in 2004. Its mission is planned to conclude in 2017, after it has observed a half-cycle of Saturn's seasons.

Explore further: Cassini flyby focuses on Saturn's moon Enceladus

Related Stories

Cassini flyby focuses on Saturn's moon Enceladus

November 8, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Saturn's moon Enceladus shows its icy face and famous plumes in raw, unprocessed images captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during its successful flyby on Nov. 6, 2011.

Saturn's B-ring: Taking a closer look

September 11, 2012

(Phys.org)—Clumpy particles in Saturn's B-ring provide stark contrast to the delicately ordered ringlets seen in the rest of this view presented by the Cassini spacecraft.

Saturn shows off its shadow

September 21, 2012

Take a look up at the enormous shadow cast by Saturn onto its own rings in this raw image, acquired by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on September 18, 2012.

Cassini makes last close flyby of Saturnian moon Rhea

March 8, 2013

(Phys.org) —NASA's Cassini spacecraft will be swooping close to Saturn's moon Rhea on Saturday, March 9, the last close flyby of Rhea in Cassini's mission. The primary purpose will be to probe the internal structure of ...

Recommended for you

Ceres image: The lonely mountain

August 25, 2015

NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers).

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Dawn spacecraft sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 25, 2015

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.