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 imaging lead hopes for planet-wide celebration of the Pale Blue Dot

Related Stories

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 ...

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.

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.

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.

Recommended for you

Mars rover Opportunity on walkabout near rim

June 23, 2017

NASA's senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is examining rocks at the edge of Endeavour Crater for signs that they may have been either transported by a flood or eroded in place by wind.

CHESS mission will check out the space between stars

June 23, 2017

Deep in space between distant stars, space is not empty. Instead, there drifts vast clouds of neutral atoms and molecules, as well as charged plasma particles called the interstellar medium—that may, over millions of years, ...

Dutch astronomers discover recipe to make cosmic glycerol

June 23, 2017

A team of laboratory astrophysicists from Leiden University (the Netherlands) managed to make glycerol under conditions comparable to those in dark interstellar clouds. They allowed carbon monoxide ice to react with hydrogen ...

Scientists uncover origins of the Sun's swirling spicules

June 22, 2017

At any given moment, as many as 10 million wild jets of solar material burst from the sun's surface. They erupt as fast as 60 miles per second, and can reach lengths of 6,000 miles before collapsing. These are spicules, and ...

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.