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Cassini's Christmas Gift: In the Shadow of Saturn

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the cassini-is-the-best-thing dept.

Space 32

astroengine writes "As the Cassini mission continues to orbit the ringed gas giant Saturn, it's hard to imagine what magnificent view the NASA spacecraft will show us next. Today, however, is one for the history books. As a very special Christmas holiday treat, the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS) team have processed a magnificent view of Saturn that is rarely seen — a portrait from the dark side of the planet."

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I really wanted a Rhianna CD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42329741)

I guess a picture of Saturn is "OK", but I really wanted a CD of Rhianna's music for Christmas.

Re:I really wanted a Rhianna CD (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42330783)

Nice try, gramps, but no one who knows what a CD is listens to Rhianna and vice versa.

So, Cassini is like my sister (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42329855)

It likes to regift dupe images?

Re:So, Cassini is like my sister (4, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42330789)

In case anyone is interested:

The mosaic being released today by the mission and the imaging team, in celebration of the 2012 holiday season, does not contain Earth; along with the sun, our planet is hidden behind Saturn. However, it was taken when Cassini was closer to Saturn and therefore shows more detail in the rings than the one taken in 2006.

(Source [nasa.gov] )

Uranus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42329941)

So it's a picture of Uranus?

Anybody have another link? (1, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42330003)

The first is firewalled off (they think discovery is an entertainment site) and the second is slashdotted. So here you fellows go, straight from NASA. [nasa.gov] I doubt we'll slashdot them... and submitter, why did you not link the source?

Re:Anybody have another link? (4, Informative)

wooferhound (546132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42330189)

The Ciclops site linked in the summery is the official Cassini site for processed pictures and raw images taken by Cassini. NASA gets the pics after they are released on Ciclops.

Re:Anybody have another link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42331839)

Summery? I'm guessing the dark side of Saturn is quite wintery.

Re:Anybody have another link? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42332205)

There's no dark side of Saturn. As a matter of fact it's all dark really.

Photoshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42330127)

Am I the only one who thinks that looks a photoshop?

Re:Photoshop (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42331551)

Yeah, you can tell by the pixels, right?

OK let's be practical.. (1)

eexaa (1252378) | about a year and a half ago | (#42330795)

...can anyone fix the ugly square crop of that blue haze below the saturn?

i'd be a totally cool&costly wallpaper then :)

Give Credit to US agencies.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42330947)

..to come up with the Acronyms for every occasion

Re:Give Credit to US agencies.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42332395)

Hate to be the nerd here but its each team that comes up with the acronym when answering the call for proposals
The americans and most europeans go for acronyms usually (see JUICE for example which is the next big mission after gallileo and cassini)
The swedish for example use their gods: Odin,frejia Thor (proposed and unfortunatelly rejected I think)
the japanese are usually more poetic

Re:Give Credit to US agencies.. (2)

Scarletdown (886459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42333719)

The swedish for example use their gods: Odin,frejia Thor (proposed and unfortunatelly rejected I think)

Why do I get the feeling Thor was rejected due to the fear of Marvel/Disney bringing down a horde of evil lawyers on them?

I don't understand this picture (3, Insightful)

Hazelfield (1557317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42331147)

There's something about that picture that's hard for my brain to process. I get the backlit rings to the sides of the planet and the shadow the planet casts on its rings on the dark side, but where do the rings on the upper half of the planet come from and why do they seem offset from the other rings?

Re:I don't understand this picture (4, Informative)

chichilalescu (1647065) | about a year and a half ago | (#42331735)

The camera is behind and "below" Saturn, and Saturn's rings are "tilted" towards the Sun (you can see this because the planet's shadow on the rings is curved; if the ring was parallel to the light rays, the shadow would have straight edges).
The planet's back is lit by the rings: the upper part gets light reflected by the rings, and some diffused light, while the lower part only gets diffused light, that's why the upper part is better illuminated.
The "black rings" that you can see over the upper part of the planet are just the back of the rings (i.e the part that's in Saturn's shadow). Because the planet is much better illuminated than this portion of the rings, you see them as black on colored background (they must receive some light from the back of the planet, but that's probably below the sensitivity threshold of the camera).
They are "offset" because you only notice the portion between the camera and the planet; the rest of the shadowy part of the rings is dark on a dark background, so you can't see it.

Re:I don't understand this picture (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42332373)

They are "offset" because you only notice the portion between the camera and the planet; the rest of the shadowy part of the rings is dark on a dark background, so you can't see it.

No, they are not "offset". They are simply inverse. Look again. Measure if you like with the elliptical path tool in your image editor of choice. The light parts in the lighted rings correspond to the dark parts in the darker rings -- More matter in light = lighter, more matter blocking light = darker; The rings against the planet block its light. The rest of what you said is spot on though.

Re:I don't understand this picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42331759)

The dark bands across the upper half are actually the rings themselves blocking Cassini's view of the planet.

Re:I don't understand this picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42331813)

Let's see if I can clearly put this into words: Those are the rings passing in front of the dark side of the planet. They're translucent. The light reflected from the sun-illuminated part of the rings to either is reflecting off the cloud-tops on the night side of the planet, through the rings, to the camera.

Re:I don't understand this picture (1)

sighted (851500) | about a year and a half ago | (#42331819)

Where do the rings on the upper half of the planet come from and why do they seem offset from the other rings?

Let's see if I can clearly put this into words: Those are the rings passing in front of the dark side of the planet. They're translucent. The light reflected from the sun-illuminated part of the rings to either is reflecting off the cloud-tops on the night side of the planet, through the rings, to the camera.

Re:I don't understand this picture (1)

sighted (851500) | about a year and a half ago | (#42331827)

Sigh. I meant to say: to either *side*

Re:I don't understand this picture (1)

Technician (215283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42332033)

The offset black rings is the planet background that is blocked from view by rings in darkness of the planet shadow. The black band matches up with the dense part of the rings in sunlight. You can see part of the planet in thinner parts of the rings. Other parts block your view completely.

The photo appears to have been processed to darken the sunlit rings and greatly boost the dark side of the planet to make it visible by the reflected light off the rings.

Re:I don't understand this picture (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336563)

Right click, rotate image, rotate 180 degrees.

Puts the rings in the orientation your brain expects, then the shadow makes more sense.

Re:I don't understand this picture (1)

Hazelfield (1557317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42343145)

Thanks everyone who helped, but especially this tip. For some reason (evolutionary biology?) it seems easier to understand an image where the sunlight comes from above. Now I got a better idea of what's going on. An amazing picture.

Dark Side = Far Side (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year and a half ago | (#42331415)

OK, in this story, "the dark side of Saturn" and "the far side of Saturn" are effectively equivalent.

Re:Dark Side = Far Side (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42331771)

"the dark side of Saturn" and "the far side of Saturn" are effectively equivalent.

if ( Dark Side == Far Side ) Mind = Blown;
For a moment there I thought I'd have to add one more viewing of Star Wars to the millions of billions of times I've seen it because I missed all the Gary Larson references.

Resembles Uranus (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42331471)

No I really mean it this time, no joke, it does resemble Uranus from that side: green and smooth.

It would be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42331479)

...to know what's real images and what's CG in that Discovery "news" bit.

Frankly, they should clearly mark "Computer Generated Simulated Images" so that people don't get a wrong idea of what the Space looks like (as they always do, you know photoshopped stars out and removing everything else they deemed unfit for consumption)

Looks nice but (1)

Whiteox (919863) | about a year and a half ago | (#42333681)

it's pretty awful.

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