Cassini Photo Shows Earth, Moon, Venus, Mars, And Saturn

Cassini One

NASA has released a photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft yet that provides the best image yet of Saturn, along with cameo appearances by Earth and some of our neighbors:

A NASA spacecraft has revealed an unprecedented view of Saturn from space, showing the entire gas giant backlit by the sun with several of its moons and all but one of its rings, as Earth, Venus and Mars all appear as pinpricks light in the background.

The spectacular image, unveiled Tuesday (Nov. 12), is actually a mosaic of 141 wide-angle images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft taken in natural color, which mimics how human eyes might see the ringed planet. Stretching 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across, the panorama captures all of Saturn’s rings up to the ethereal E ring, the second outermost one.

The pictures that make up the mosaic were snapped on July 19, 2013 — the same day that Cassini took advantage of a rare opportunity to photograph Earth without interference from the sun, which was totally eclipsed by Saturn at the time. From its far-flung perch millions of miles away, Cassini captured amazing portraits of Earth as a pale blue dot as thousands of people on the ground waved in honor of the global picture day. [Wave at Saturn: Images from NASA’s Cosmic Photo Bomb by Cassini Probe]

“In this one magnificent view, Cassini has delivered to us a universe of marvels,” Carolyn Porco, who leads Cassini’s imaging team at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., said of the new image in a statement from NASA. “And it did so on a day people all over the world, in unison, smiled in celebration at the sheer joy of being alive on a pale blue dot.”

Here’s a copy of the same image above with the positions of the Earth, Moon, and Mars and annotated: (Click to enlarge)

Cassini Two

Pretty amazing.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. C. Clavin says:

    Awesome…too bad about austerity and trading this sort of stuff for tax cuts for the rich.

  2. @C. Clavin:

    NASA’s budget has plenty of room or unmanned research.

  3. rodney dill says:

    mostly harmless

  4. Franklin says:

    Cool pic.