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Posted by on Dec 21, 2012 in Science |

The dark side of Saturn, a spectacular image of NASA

The dark side of Saturn, a spectacular image of NASA

It is common for research centers working in the field of space exploration devote part of their time to scientific, that is, to share with the public some of the results of their investigations to adentrarlo in the world of astronomy. Projects such as the Black Marble or 600 million pixels of the Cygnus Loop Nebula we have seen this week are two examples that contribute to something closer to space. In 1997, NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and ASI (Italian Space Agency) launched the Cassini-Huygens mission , with the launch of the Cassini spacecraft and the Huygens probe bound for and, who arrived in 2004, studying this fascinating planet with its moons. During the month of October, Cassini was able to take a spectacular image that was six years since we saw: the dark side of Saturn .

The image with the dark side of Saturn was taken last October 17 during orbit number 174 that Cassini has performed around the gas giant, at which time the ship was placed deliberately in the shadow of the planet. From this position, and facing the sun, the ship found a picture in which the rings were lit and the planet, however, it was dark (a position called “high solar phase”). From the scientific point of view, this (and the captured data from the Cassini spacecraft of the dark side of Saturn) allow to obtain much information about the rings of Saturn.

It has taken six years since the last time Cassini was able to capture the planet Saturn from this perspective (was in September 2006 ) and in this beautiful picture we see the planet completely dark because the sun would hide just behind the planet and in the lower left corner of the image, we can distinguish two of Saturn’s moons: Enceladus (which is the one closest to the rings) and Tethys.

With regard to the technical data of the image, the dark side of Saturn has been captured using a combination of spectral filters ifrarrojos red and violet with the idea of ​​improving the image colors from images taken from the camera having wide Cassini spacecraft. The ship was located 800,000 kilometers from Saturn and Photo each pixel represents 50 kilometers and comes from the composition of 165 photographs taken during an interval of 3 hours.

Image: NASA

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