Image: Not really starless at Saturn

Image: Not really starless at Saturn
Credit: NASA

Saturn's main rings, along with its and moons, are much brighter than most stars. As a result, much shorter exposure times (10 milliseconds, in this case) are required to produce an image and not saturate the detectors of the imaging cameras on NASA's Cassini spacecraft. A longer exposure would be required to capture the stars as well. Cassini has captured stars on many occasions, especially when a target moon is in eclipse, and thus darker than normal. For example, see PIA10526 .

Dione (698 miles, 1123 kilometers across) and Epimetheus (70 miles, 113 kilometers across) are seen in this view, above the rings at left and right respectively.

This image looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 3 degrees above the . The image was taken in with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on April 2, 2016.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 257,000 miles (413,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 34  degrees. Image scale is 15 miles (25 kilometers) per pixel.


Explore further

Image: Saturn's rings dividing Dione

Provided by NASA
Citation: Image: Not really starless at Saturn (2016, July 19) retrieved 16 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-07-image-starless-saturn.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
345 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jul 24, 2016
The Sun isn't "brighter" than most stars either, yet when it's near the horizon or in the visible sky, one can't see stars either.

Is that another NASA cover up?

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