Cassini views Venus from Saturn’s shadow

Cassini's view of Venus, as seen from Saturn. Venus is the bright speck shining through Saturn's rings, which are backlit by the sun in this image. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute
Cassini’s view of Venus, as seen from Saturn. Venus is the bright speck shining through Saturn’s rings, which are backlit by the sun in this image. Click for larger version.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute

The Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn for a long time now, taking stunning images of the giant planet and its rings and moons. Some new images, released today, show a different world though, far across the solar system and much closer to the sun -Venus.

Even from this vantage point in the outer solar system, Venus looks like a fairly bright star. In the image above, Cassini was in Saturn’s shadow at the time; Saturn itself is backlit by the sun, and from this location Cassini was able to look back towards the sun and the inner solar system. Venus can be seen as the bright speck shining through Saturn’s rings.

The image was originally taken on November 10, 2012 by Cassini’s wide-angle camera. It is a beautiful composite of two completely different worlds, far across the solar system from each other, but part of the family of planets orbiting our sun. Earth has also previously been seen as a similar bright, but bluish, speck – a reminder of just how small our own world really is on a cosmic scale.

This article was first published on Examiner.com.

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